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Global Spectrum’s stand-out venues

Courtesy Sandler Center

Imagine a meeting followed by an evening walk to see the glory of Niagara Falls. Or a welcome reception at a historic California winery. Those are two of the out-of-the-ordinary venues that Global Spectrum manages across the country. Those venues make lasting memories for attendees and create a buzz for years to come.

In Niagara Falls, N.Y., the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls, managed by Global Spectrum, is three blocks from Niagara Falls State Park. The 116,000-square-foot, single-level conference center has 15 meeting rooms with nonglare tables, ergonomic chairs, videoconferencing and audiovisual capabilities.

It faces Old Falls Street, an entertainment district that Global Spectrum also manages. The entertainment district is also across the street from the Seneca Niagara Casino, giving convention attendees plenty to do within walking distance. The Canadian border is two blocks away for an international adventure.

“Our attendees, when they’re on a break, can really enjoy going on a stroll,” said Ryan Coates, general manager.

The three tree-lined blocks of Old Falls Street are well-suited to host concerts, performances and other public and private events. Food trucks line the streets at lunch time, and series of scheduled events provide food and fun such as Jazzy Sundays, life-size version of board games, and free movies in the evening.

Dinners at a winery

In Saratoga, Calif., the Mountain Winery, built of stone in the early 1900s, has been updated and expanded to accommodate corporate retreats, team building, conferences and concerts. Outdoor events are memorable in the landscaped gardens and redwood groves that encircle the terrace. Dinners and receptions can be held among the oak casks in the ivy-covered winery building.

Groups can tour the winery, taste wine or take a gourmet-cooking class. Rock climbing, bungee jumping and other outdoor adventures can be arranged.

In Virginia Beach, Va., the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts’ three-story lobby with its curved wall of glass is an engaging backdrop for gatherings. The performing-arts center is in Town Center, walking distance from hotels, shopping, free parking and more than a dozen restaurants.

The 1,300-seat performance theater is known as an acoustically superb space; ancillary rooms and a smaller theater with full audiovisual capabilities can be used for breakouts. The theaters are flexible, transforming from concerts to presentations to dining areas, depending on the need.

“For an architect association awards banquet, we did a seated dinner for 200 on the stage, and the backdrop was the hall itself,” said David Semon, general manager.

Arts center offers flexibility

The arts center also hosted a trade show that was not a typical pipe-and-drape affair, instead using the curved lobby to accommodate vendors.

“We can do some unique things with the venue that people might not be accustomed to with traditional square spaces,” Semon said. “It helps create an ambiance without having to spend any money trying to decorate a blank space.”

Although the hall has a maximum capacity of 1,300, the sweet spot for meeting and conferences is 700 to 800 attendees, Semon said. One of the reasons is availability of lodging in nearby hotels. Larger groups might have to house attendees in hotels farther away.

“It’s nice to be able to walk to everything here in the perimeter of Town Center,” Semon said.