Progress on Waverly Hills hotel and convention center coming along slowly

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Waverly Hills opens its doors this weekend for Haunted House tours but despite financial obstacles, the owners are still trying to turn what they call "the most haunted place on earth" into a hotel and conference center.

Owner Charlie Mattingly bought Waverly Hills 13 years ago, after hearing stories from his father who was treated for tuberculosis there in 1937. Mattingly's been trying to restore the building for the last several years with the goal of turning it into a profitable hotel and convention center, but progress has been slow. 

"It's hurting the whole community if it was done, there'd be a lot of money being generated up here and it would help everybody," He explained. 

The owner says some improvements although less visible, include new plumbing, electrical work, geothermal wells added and road paving.  

"I've always said I'll have it finished in 5 years, I've been saying that for 10 years.  But the fact is we're slow at raising the money," Mattingly said.

Money comes solely from the profits of tours, hosting paranormal enthusiasts and the haunted house which will run weekends until Halloween. Mattingly says he can't get a loan from a bank. 

"They look at it like its worth nothing at all. We've got to make the building in good enough shape so the bank can realize it is worth something," he said. 

While construction and renovations are happening on the first floor, the upper levels are untouched. They are how the rooms have been since they closed to the public in 1981. 

Eventually the plan is to make them into hotel rooms. The original estimate for 134 hotel rooms and convention space was $20 million. Mattingly says he's not giving up, in part because of the last conversation he had with his dad.

"I said 'Don't worry Pop, I'm going to take care of the place and I'm going to rebuild it.' And he kinda smiled," Mattingly said. "Well then I went back to work a couple days later and he died. From there its like what do I remember? I remember the last things I said to my Dad: 'Don't worry Pop, I'll fix it up. It'll be just like it was."

Waverly Hills Haunted House tours start Friday. Click here for more information.

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