A fast-growing Utah company that develops small event centers for family gatherings, wedding receptions, business meetings and other activities plans to build a pair of venues on Colorado Springs' northeast side.

The Falls Event Center, based in suburban Salt Lake City, has submitted plans to city officials to construct 13,600-square-foot and 9,600-square-foot buildings northwest of Woodmen Road and Austin Bluffs Parkway.

The company has contracted to buy about 15 acres from a local church that owns the land, and will erect the two single-story buildings on 5 to 6 acres. The Falls Event Center plans to sell the rest of the land, where company officials envision another enterprise building a 5,000-square foot restaurant, said John Neubauer, the company's general manager.

The company is seeking to have the area rezoned to accommodate the event center and restaurant uses, he said.

In a best-case scenario, The Falls Event Center hopes to start construction in January and open both buildings by the end of 2014. The cost of the project will be about $10 million, Neubauer said.

Founded two years ago, The Falls Event Center looks to build in areas that are fairly close to its Utah headquarters, and has several projects in the west in various stages of planning or construction, Neubauer said.

The company's first venue opened in August in St. George, Utah, he said. Two more are scheduled to open in December in suburban Sacramento, Calif. By the end of next year , the company plans to open 12 more - five in California, four in Arizona, one in Littleton and the two in Colorado Springs, Neubauer said.

The Falls Event Center liked Colorado Springs' size, and determined there was a need for a northeast side location, he said. Because of expected demand, the company decided to put up two buildings, as it has in some of its other locations.

The company's concept is to develop smaller venues that fill a niche in the event center market, Neubauer said. Some large, upper-end hotels, country clubs and wedding centers are on the more expensive side; churches and community centers, meanwhile, are less expensive, but they lack amenities. The Falls Event Center tries to strike a balance in cost and amenities, Neubauer said.

Each event center building has a main hall, small and large conference rooms, a board room and a game room; the five spaces can be booked separately or for a single event.

A wedding reception might take place in the main hall, while the game room might be used by members of the groom's party, Neubauer said. Or, a business might hold a seminar in a conference room, while company executives meet in the board room.

Other events might include birthday parties, service club luncheons and family and school reunions, Neubauer said. The buildings could hold events that range from 20 to 300 people, he said.

"The idea is to create an environment where there are multiple kinds of organizations that have multiple kinds of space needs that can be solved in a single location," Neubauer said.

The buildings don't have kitchens, but are designed with warming and cooling facilities so hired caterers can bring in food to accommodate various events, he said. Each room also has audio and visual equipment.

A general manager and two assistant general managers will oversee the buildings; about 10 employees will set up tables and chairs and do other concierge work for users, Neubauer said.

Rental rates haven't been set, and will be based on final construction costs, he said. Rooms can be rented for three to four hours or for an entire day.


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