An esports competition space and casual restaurant and bar for gamers, spectators and dining-only crowds is coming to the city of Olivet, thanks to an innovative partnership between Olivet College and Block House.
Business partners Anthony Collamati and Nicholas Lux have leased the former Lamplighter restaurant from the college, located at 714 South Main Street. Renovations are underway to convert the space adjacent to the Cutler Athletic Complex into a community gathering space, complete with a restaurant, bar, entertainment and a high-level esports space. Block House is expected to open after the new year.
“We are excited to partner with such an amazing group of people. Olivet College and Block House have a shared mission of creating an inclusive community where people can come together around a common interest and enjoy being present. Anthony and Nick’s business and entertainment model is perfect for the community of Olivet,” said Ryan Shockey, vice president and chief of staff for Olivet College.
“From our first conversation with all the great people at Olivet College, we knew this was a college and community Block House needed to grow with,” said Lux.
Block House will attract visitors throughout the region, making Olivet a destination for entertainment and bringing vibrancy to the local community. “Block House is going to be the local hangout for people of all ages,” Shockey said. “Having a dedicated space for the fast-growing esports phenomenon puts our community and college in the spotlight.”
Collamati said, “Our mission is to bring people together around the most popular entertainment of our time. But we want everyone to feel like they have a place at Block House. This is why great food, craft drinks and an unforgettable atmosphere are so important to us – Block House can be a destination for the entire community.”
Gamers and nongamers will enjoy the spirited atmosphere. Block House will have sections dedicated to the dining-only crowd, different gameplay types and spectators. The menu is globally-inspired cuisine from three continents, the Americas, Asia and Europe, a reference to the continental servers that often group gamers together.
Competitive and organized esports gaming is booming on college campuses. Esports competition is also taking off in high schools nationwide. Block House will enable teams to connect with other gamers locally, nationally and worldwide. Block House will host college, high school and casual esports competitions. It will also serve as the home base for the coming Olivet College esports team.
The competitive gaming space will be arena-style to showcase a gamer’s talent, just like any other sport. The high-level gaming systems will support both competitive and recreational esports and include the following: racing simulators, console gaming, high-end gaming PCs, streaming stations, VR, a professional competition stage and production equipment thinking switcher.
This Block House will be the second developed by Collamati and Lux. The first opened in Alma, Mich., in the historic Wright Leppien Opera House in 2020 in partnership with Alma College.
“The College is thrilled to partner with Block House in creating a safe and welcoming gathering place for students of all ages, local residents and others to enjoy, whether they are gamers or nongamers,” Shockey said. “What a great way to build a more inclusive and diverse community.”
Collamati added, “We’re excited about the opportunities this partnership with Olivet College will create in bringing high schools, colleges and communities together across Michigan.”