By Valerie Shelton, Editor
Clovis is booming with community events year-round, but soon more residents and visitors wanting to host private events in the city will have a new venue where they can do so.
The Falls Event Center, which currently has a venue in Fresno and several other communities throughout the state, is coming to Clovis.
At a May 2 city council meeting, the council approved a conditional use permit that would allow the Falls Event Center to build a facility in the “golden triangle” area near Magill and Clovis Avenues.
Associate City Planner Orlando Ramirez said the event center, as proposed, will be a 17,000-square-foot facility, complete with outdoors patios and indoor conference rooms and banquet-style halls, which would serve various types of events and conferences.
While the event center itself isn’t a huge job creator, as is intended for businesses to be located within the golden triangle, it does provide a venue that may attract such businesses that would want to use it to conduct meetings and conferences—in other words, the events center may spur economic growth.
“This is not necessarily a job creator on its own, although there are some jobs that will come from it, but tied into the long view, periodically we have an opportunity to embrace a potential catalyst for job creation and if this was going to just be a facility that was four walls, I would probably not be too excited about it, but this is significant,” Mayor Pro Tem Bob Whalen commented after a presentation by staff and a representative of The Falls Event Center.
Joe Guagliardo with Comprehensive Planning Associates, which represents the Falls Event Center, said each Falls Event Center has been successful, including the one in Fresno.
“Those of you who watch PBS, may have noticed and realized that when the Downton Abbey series finale party was held, it was held at the Falls Event facility in Fresno,” Guagliardo said. “These are first rate facilities much like country clubs.”
The center, he said, will feature many amenities, such as a game room, a movie theater room, a luxurious bathroom and a bride’s room—amenities not always provided by other event centers. Unlike other event centers, Guagliardo added that those renting the space can use their own caterers, florists and decorators.
“The Falls Even Center is an alternative to typical banquet facilities,” Guagliardo said. “Unlike most banquet facilities where you have to sign on to use the on-site caterer, the on-site florist, the on-site rental agency and so on, renting the Falls facility allows the users to pick the caterer of their choice so they can pick any caterer they want in Clovis and any florist they want, any rental equipment they choose to use and if they want to do it themselves they can do it themselves. A family reunion is a good example where they are more than welcome to bring in their own food, which in some cases at event centers is not an opportunity available to them.”
Guagliardo also emphasized that the Falls Event Center will be a good neighbor to fellow businesses.
“The facility will end up having approximately 137 parking spaces so the development will be free standing and we will not infringe upon any parking in the surrounding area,” he said. “In fact, by the nature of different uses, when the golden triangle develops, if other businesses need parking during the day, parking within this area would be available to them.”
All and all, Guagliardo said the center will be good for the growing Clovis community.
“Providing the Falls Event Center in the golden triangle will allow an easy location for people to have meetings and conferences in the day and parts of the evening,” Guagliardo said. “Being located near the intersection of Clovis and Herndon avenues near the 168, it is a good access point for meeting throughout the Clovis area…We think this development provides an outstanding opportunity for the city to capture more events and to provide assistance to the large number of hotels and such being built in the area. As things develop here, people will use those rooms and as people come here, then the local caterers will be hired to work in these rooms. We see this as an opportunity to furnish an image further for the city of Clovis and provide an opportunity and facility that the community of Clovis can be very proud of today and in the future.”
Dwight Kroll, the city’s director of planning and development services, agreed that the Falls Event Center would serve the city well.
“It isn’t exactly your Old Town environment there but we want to create a gateway into Old Town and the Falls Event Center works well within the Clovis master plan for this area,” Kroll said. “It does encourage the development of interior walkways which are also a way to connect to the trail…In the Old Town area we have very low vacancy rates in our hotels because people want to go there and shop and this only compliments the existing hotels we have there.”
The goal, Guagliardo said, is to have the center up and running within a year.