CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) A new Downtown Christiansburg location is looking to provide a venue for both small and large occasions. But it's not a new building by any means.
The new Great Road on Main was the former Main Street Baptist Church, with part of the building being built in 1908.
But after being abandoned for seven years, an extension campus to California's Life Pacific College, called Life Pacific College Ignite, closed on the property in March, 2016 and moved in in December of that year; and with so much space, they wanted to offer it up to everyone.
Michael Larkin is the President of Life Pacific College Ignite.
He said, “For the college to own and operate would limit us in just the scope of community involvement.”
So Larkin started a non-religious non-profit called On Main Street, Inc., which he is President of, to be able to operate a venue space.
“We also wanted to create job opportunities for our students, training in things like project management, event coordination, that kind of thing,” Larkin said. “And then also bring revitalization and economic value to downtown.”
This space is able to host large and small groups and is expected to bring in weddings, corporate functions, family celebrations, and theater groups.
Sherri Box is the Great Road on Main Event Coordinator.
She explained, “There's only two other venues in the NRV that I know of that can handle this many people. It has been needed for a long, long time.”
According to people in charge of the Downtown area, this is exactly what they need to revitalize the entire area.
Downtown Christiansburg, Inc. President Justin Sanders said, “It really has become a really central part to our downtown, a place where everyone can come together, enjoy this beautiful facility, at a space that was once a question mark in our community is now a place of vibrancy and this is the sort of thing we want to see happen throughout downtown.”
And with a max capacity of around 300 people, it can create an economic spike potentially every time it's used.
“When there's 250 people here they're going to have to eat somewhere, they're going to have to purchase gasoline, they're going to need lodging, they're going to want to get out and walk around,” Box said. “We're looking at bringing commerce to everybody that's in Downtown Christiansburg.”
Events have already been held at the new venue spot. Box said the entire place was booked for a wedding in January and it cost just under $5,000.
But there is still a ribbon cutting scheduled for March 16 at 1:00, and then people can really see the space during two open houses that Friday and into Saturday. The corporate open house will be March 16 from 1:00 – 5:00 and the wedding open house will be March 17 from 1:00 – 5:00.
To learn more about Great Road on Main or book an event, click here.
Sanders said anyone wishing to give input on the future of the Downtown, which is what a Talk of the Town meeting covered Thursday night, should email firstname.lastname@example.org.