Our evening began on the ground level in the public plaza area, which had been roped off for the night. The plaza was filled with local vendors, from restaurants offering she-crab soup appetizers to chocolatiers with candy-coated apple party favors.
It was all quite enchanting.
Inside the Center on the ground floor was an open gallery type setting with more spread and drink stations, all of which was creatively flanked by vertical tanks sporting luminescent jelly fish, a picture of which I texted home to the kids. Even though jellyfish aren’t local to the area, still, I couldn’t help but be charmed.
Sadly this area is called the “Advance Auto Part Atrium,” which is like, the most Idiocracy name for anything on the planet. A good corporate sponsor with some taste and class would not want to be so lame with their naming, but that’s America’s dumbed down predicatability for you.
But what really blew my socks was the sleek, modern, and utterly gorgeous roof top garden with its bright succulents and charming gold fish ponds. If I’m not mistaken there was some element of “green roof” to it all which a enviro-girl like me can’t help but applaud. Check out this quote from their website,
We believe that green building is the right and only thing to do – for our city, our world, our children and our legacy. Center has developed comprehensive sustainable design strategies that are in line with the LEED Rating System, making this only the third Virginia project to attempt LEED certification with a historic renovation project. Preliminary rating places our project at the Silver Level.
That rocks! Every Virginia city should be so bold in their choices and their explanations!
As far as the eye can see
Best of all on such a night were the excellent views around the City and out to the surrounding hills. I could definitely see this as a perfect wedding reception spot, or big party or charitable event setting. I really dug it. I have no idea the rental costs but I can say it was terrific fun. If that matters at all for your guest perception I’d say go for it for your special occasion rental.
One final thing — and I don’t know if this is available for your typical rental, but for this night at least they set up outdoor fire pits, either of gas logs or those chimineas, with casual seating astride, and made these cozy nooks to relax into. I thought that was gutsy, inviting, old-fashioned hospitality and I was duly impressed!
I would bet that if you’re looking for a city in which to have a conference or major event, and want secondary local places to supplement the conference, that some combo of the Roanoke Hotel and the Center in the Square could really be a hit!
— Lindsay Curren, Girl Goes Virginia