By Tamara Muldoon
If you’re looking for a venue that’s a bit different or if you would rather be the proverbial “big fish in a small pond,” consider the variety of independent meeting venues available in cities throughout the Northwest. Many offer unique spaces, high-tech audio/visual capabilities, attractive locations and attentive staff. These one-of-a-kind facilities may be the perfect fit for your small to medium size events.
Located in Seattle’s trendy South Lake Union neighborhood, 415 Westlake offers a distinctive venue for everything from social gatherings to corporate events. Its spare industrial-chic décor with high ceilings, large windows and warm wood accents lends itself well to all types of events.
Three separate rooms total over 5,000 square feet of flexible space. The Grand Space seats 200 for banquets and 300 for reception-style events. The intimate Kakao Gallery accommodates up to 50 people. Kakao Gallery is a public coffee shop during weekdays but can be reserved for evenings and weekends. A well-appointed conference room hosts small meetings, serves as breakout space or can be an event planner’s command central.
415 Westlake makes event planning easy. The rental fee includes tables and chairs, a standard audiovisual equipment package and WiFi. Standard audiovisual includes an LCD projector and screen, theater-quality lighting and sound system, and an internet connection suitable for teleconferences. Additional equipment can be rented as needed.
Planners can hire their own caterer or select one from a list of local companies familiar with the facility. 415 Westlake boasts a first-rate kitchen. The building has 20 complimentary parking spaces. Paid parking for more than 300 cars is available down the block at 320 Westlake, and street parking is free after 6:00 p.m.
Over the past decade, the South Lake Union district has undergone a dramatic transformation. The once run-down industrial and warehouse district has become a vibrant, up-and-coming center of tech companies and residential high-rises. Easily accessible from I-5, this pedestrian-friendly neighborhood just north of downtown Seattle features a waterfront park on Lake Union, trolley transit line and a plethora of shops, restaurants and bars. Seattle Center, with its many attractions, is just minutes away.
Nearby hotels include Residence Inn Seattle, Hampton Inn and Suites, Silver Cloud Inn and Pan Pacific Hotel. Sea-Tac International Airport is located 15 miles south, with car rental, taxi and public transportation options.
CORPORATE CONFERENCE CENTER
At first glance, Clark College at Columbia Tech Center looks like just another office building in this sprawling east Vancouver business park. But, along with student classrooms, this LEED Gold-certified satellite campus houses its Corporate Conference Center. With 8,500 square feet of affordable, flexible, high-tech event space, this facility is perfect for meetings, training classes and conferences. However, it should not be overlooked as a venue for social events such as weddings, banquets or galas.
Consider these advantages. Easy access from I-205 and free parking. A quiet, suburban location, yet close to restaurants and shops—many within walking distance. Meeting room fees include the Smart Room Audiovisual Package. This package comes with microphone, computer, WiFi access, digital overhead projector and screen, DVD player, document camera and white boards. All rooms have large windows for natural light. An on-site event coordinator and technical support make planning simple and ensure your event goes smoothly.
The first-floor event room seats up to 300 theater-style and can be divided into two or three separate rooms, each with Smart Room technology. Across the hallway, you’ll find the well-equipped Kitchen Classroom which can be used as a staging area for caterers or for cooking demonstrations and classes. A semi-circular 16-seat granite counter faces the stove and prep area and comes camera-equipped for projecting cooking techniques onto a built-in screen. The facility provides a list of preferred catering services.
On the third floor, two additional meeting rooms accommodate 36 and 78 classroom style, but can be arranged to suit your needs. The larger room can be divided in half. Also on this level are a Conference Room seating 18 comfortably, with power outlets at each seat and built-in technology tools; and, a Computer Lab with 18 work-stations pre-loaded with Windows 7, Office 13 and Adobe Creative Suite software. Designed for training, the Lab’s instructor station allows projection of the computer image to a large screen. You can also rent the Art Studio—perfect for hands-on activities.
Built in 2009, this facility is so well maintained that it looks new. Groups renting space at Corporate Conference Center receive discounted room rates at four nearby hotels, Hampton Inn & Suites Portland/ Vancouver, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, and Candlewood Suites Vancouver-Camas. Portland International Airport is just ten miles away.
Leftbank Annex offers a hip, urban setting for a wide range of events. Built in 1911, the structure has a storied past, including use as a machine shop making airplane parts during World War II. In 2009, it underwent a metamorphosis, becoming the unique event venue it is today. Leftbank Annex retains its original “bones” in the form of exposed brick, concrete pillars and massive wooden ceiling beams. It has been tastefully updated with decorative steel supports and railings, beautiful wood accents and expansive white walls that double as projection screens. Large windows and high ceilings create a light, airy environment.
Each floor of the two-story structure contains a large event space. The 5,500-square-foot lower level, called the Clubroom, seats 200 for dinner. Two breakout rooms may be used separately or opened up to provide flow-through space from the main room. Each breakout room comes equipped with a digital projector and screen.
Upstairs, the Greatroom’s pillar-free space adapts easily for any event. At 6,800 square feet, it holds 420 for dinner and 850 for receptions. A small raised balcony named “The Nest” works as a stage or lounge. Prior events utilizing this space include conferences, trade shows, fundraisers, weddings and proms.
Overlooking the Greatroom, the spacious Mezzanine is a perfect place to relax and view the action below. Opening off the Mezzanine, the Green Room has a private bathroom with shower, bar sink, refrigerator and lounging area. It is the perfect retreat for speakers, entertainers or event managers.
Projectors at the building’s entry enable display of event or sponsor logos. The Greatroom’s lobby works for event check-in and offers a coat check room. The Annex comes with an in-house sound system and is wired to serve today’s technology needs. Both levels include oversized load-in doors and catering prep areas.
Guest parking is arranged at nearby surface lots or in a garage at the adjacent Moda Center. The Crowne Plaza hotel, with 241 guest rooms, a restaurant and lounge, is within walking distance. A Portland Streetcar stop is one block away, providing convenient public transportation throughout the downtown area. Portland International Airport, just 12 miles east, offers many transportation options to downtown, including light rail.
Sleek and modern, Venue 252 supplies flexible event space in downtown Eugene. With more than 20,000 square feet, this facility accommodates both large and small groups with ease. The Grand Hall, its largest room, holds up to 500 for banquets and 800 for receptions. A unique balcony overlooking the room makes a great space for entertainers, an emcee, VIP seating or s special vantage point for watching the event. High ceilings and skylights give this room a bright, open feeling.
With similar ambiance, the Gallery Space is ideal for meetings and banquets up to 125 guests, and more than 200 for receptions. Show video or slide presentations on four large wall-mounted flat-screens. With 2,400 square feet of wide-open space, this room is used for everything from trade shows to weddings, corporate meetings to holiday parties.
Grand Hall reservations include use of the Mezzanine Lounge. This oversized balcony overlooking the Lobby, with comfortable furniture and wood floors, works as a pre-function space, cocktail lounge or networking area during breaks. Need more room? The Mezzanine flows into the spacious, light-filled Lobby.
Pamper VIPs and entertainers, or yourself, in the Green Room. It contains a private bathroom, makeup mirror, stocked beverage cooler, large sofa and closet space. It’s the ideal space for keynote speakers to prepare, band members to chill out or brides to prepare before the big event.
Venue 252 is owned by Market of Choice, a Eugene-based supermarket chain with stores throughout western Oregon. Market Catering, a division of the company, provides high-quality food and beverage service at Venue 252.
Located in downtown Eugene near Highway I-105, Venue 252 is near Skinner Butte Park and the Willamette River Trail. The 5th Street Public Market plus many restaurants, shops and services are a few blocks away. Nearby hotels include Hilton Eugene and Inn at the 5th.
Access to Eugene is easier than you might think. Its regional airport is served by six major airlines offering direct flights from many western U.S. cities. Ground transportation includes rental cars, taxis and a point-to-point shuttle service. Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and Cascades routes stop in downtown Eugene, and I-5 passes right through town.
CAPITAL CITY EVENT CENTER
While Boise has a beautiful convention center (Boise Centre), small groups should consider the Capital City Event Center. Housed on the second floor of the historic Adelmann Building in downtown Boise, Capital City Event Center lends a classic charm to your event. The Romanesque architectural style with arched windows and distinctive corner turret make for a memorable setting. Restaurants and shops surround you, and there are 1,700 hotel rooms within walking distance.
The Event Center offers two ballrooms of similar size, each accommodating 110 guests for a seated meal or 140 for receptions. One room features exposed red brick walls and simple décor, while the other is dressed up with elegant wallpaper, voluptuous draperies and chandeliers. Both rooms’ furnishings reflect the building’s 1906 heritage with high ceilings and polished hardwood floors that invite dancing.
A magnificent mahogany and brass bar holds court in the foyer, equipped for full beverage service including beer, wine and cocktails. Between the ballrooms hides a modern kitchen where the Center’s preferred caterers prepare meals selected from a seasonal menu, taking advantage of the region’s culinary bounty.
Boise, Idaho’s capital city, is known for its cultural attractions, including outstanding museums and performing arts. Outdoor recreation options abound both within and beyond the city boundaries. You’ll find a thriving music and arts scene, as well as superb dining and craft beverages. Only four miles from downtown, Boise Airport is served by six airlines providing nonstop flights to 20 destinations. Ground transportation options include taxi and a regional public bus system.
Montana’s fourth largest city, Bozeman, with a population of about 43,000, possesses the amenities of much larger cities. A robust cultural center of museums, music, theater and performing arts, the city has become a magnet for artists of many disciplines. Its proximity to Yellowstone National Park and a myriad of recreation opportunities make Bozeman an attractive destination.
Bozeman sits in the broad Gallatin Valley surrounded by open space that exemplifies Montana’s “Big Sky Country” nickname. In the distance, a jagged mountain range juts dramatically from the valley floor, forming a stunning backdrop. With nine historic districts and 40 properties on the National Historic Register, Bozeman retains much of its Old West legacy. While many Bozeman hotels and resorts offer meeting space, one facility that stands out as being both unique and especially functional is The Commons. Built in 2010 to house the offices and activities of Journey Church, the facility was also designed as a community center and is available for rental Monday through Saturday. Its flexible spaces and high-tech features make it well-suited for many types of events.
The Auditorium, the largest space at The Commons, accommodates 450 for banquets and 1,000 with theater-style seating. Three giant suspended screens paired with LCD video projectors, a concert-quality sound system, state-of-the-art lighting system and live-video projection make this space ideal for performances, video-conferences, seminars, film festivals and more.
The Summit Room is perfect for conferences and social gatherings. It holds 150 with banquet-style seating and 200 theater-style. What’s more, the room can be divided in half, or up to four separate rooms, each with DVD and flat screen TV capabilities. Additional versatile meeting spaces provide from three to five breakout rooms seating 25 to 50 people depending upon the configuration. These rooms are also equipped with flat screen TVs and DVD players.
At the entrance to The Commons, a spacious lobby serves as a pre-function and break area. Large windows and high ceilings make this space bright and welcoming. A well-equipped catering prep kitchen with a gas range, as well as a separate coffee/ espresso bar, are ready to serve your group’s food and beverage needs.
This beautiful, yet affordable, venue is located seven miles from downtown Bozeman, where over 1,800 hotel rooms and a wide variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment options await. The Commons is also seven miles from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, offering non-stop service from 15 major U.S. cities, including Portland and Seattle. Car rental, shuttle services and public transportation options are all available at the airport.
The Columbia Tech Center
Visit Vancouver USA
Travel Lane County
Capital City Event Center
Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau
Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce