The Event Center Downtown recently opened its doors to the public and celebrated its grand opening last week with more than 300 attendees. Located in Historic Downtown Opelika, the 33,000-square-foot building serves as a modern and unique event venue that is capable of handling a variety of events. Originally a Coca-Cola bottling warehouse, the space has been renovated with state-of-the-art additions while keeping the unique feel of the historic building.
The facility is two floors with the capability to hold more than 1,000 people. The first floor is made up of a 7,712 square-foot ballroom that can be divided in two separate ballrooms, a bar area, a meeting room and a 9,289 square-foot courtyard. The second floor holds a second meeting space, lounge, bridal suite, green room and a roof top terrace that overlooks downtown Opelika. There are two catering kitchens and a preferred list of caterers is available.
The Event Center Downtown also features advanced audio-visual technology that allows projections from the main room to be shown throughout the facility. It is wired so that guests in other rooms and the courtyard are able to enjoy the entertainment in the main room while being in a different area of the building.
Many people are already taking advantage of the new venue. So far, a 50th birthday party, sorority functions, weddings and receptions have been scheduled. Other events that could be held are trainings and seminars, exhibitions and trade shows, concerts, private parties and charity events. Because the building has a unique design, events such as car and boat shows and conferences or conventions could also be held.
“It’s very different from a country club or hotel ballroom where many events take place,” said Mindy Street, an employee at Event Center Downtown. “The feel of it is very unique because it is a renovated warehouse.”
Many of the renovations were designed to keep the originality of the building a main feature. “The owners tried to keep the authenticity of the building, and salvage and reuse materials that were a part of the original warehouse,” said Street. She explained how features such as the hardwood floors in the lounge are still the original wood, and the copper that was used on the floor in the syrup room of the warehouse is used behind the sponsor wall in the lobby. Also hanging in the lobby are framed articles about the Coca-Cola warehouse from The Opelika Daily dating back to 1938.
A unique feature to the venue is the wine cellar. Located in what used to be the city’s storm shelter, the basement is being transformed into a wine cellar. Street explained how they had a gate designed specifically for it and that most of their high-end wines will be stored down there.
Two and a half years after purchasing the building, owners Lisa and Chris beck are finally seeing their dreams become a reality. Street said that this has been a “dream of Lisa’s,” and that the day it opened was a “very proud and exciting moment.”
Lisa Beck is one of the “most determined people I’ve ever met,” said Street. She believes in revitalizing downtown Opelika. Previously, she renovated an office space located on 8th Avenue and hopes that Event Center Downtown will attract people to this area instead of people traveling out of town for major events.
“The sky is the limit with what we can do,” said Street, “and we want to be able to host our own events to attract people to this area.”
The Event Center Downtown is located off 7th Avenue in Downtown Opelika on 614 N. Railroad Ave. For more information, visit the website at www.eventcenterdowntown.com
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