Central Energy celebrates grand opening.

A sleek, industrial event venue, Central Energy, has opened in Columbia's BullStreet District after years of work to complete and polish the historic reuse project.

The Central Energy building in downtown Columbia's BullStreet District was once a steam plant its dark recesses filled with machinery and thick walls shrouding its interior in shadow.

The new Central Energy at 2030 Gregg St. is nearly unrecognizable from its rather grim beginnings. Now the 900-guest event venue features broad windows and vast natural light, soaring ceilings, rolling bay doors and a design that retained some of its industrial accents to pay homage to its origins.

The renovated steam plant has 8,000 square feet of space indoors, complete with kitchen, bars, dance floor and stage, along with 2,700 square feet of outdoor courtyard space. Its bay doors open onto a courtyard which can play host to food trucks, live music and other uses.

On March 7, Central Energy hosted its grand opening celebration, though the venue has been complete for a few months. The renovation was completed by Garvin Design Group and Hammer Construction.

"Columbia has an amazing collection of venues with unique designs and spaces," said Melanie Murphy, owner and lead designer of By Invitation Only Event Planning & Design. "But events like weddings are very personal things, and people are looking for somewhere cool and different with personality to make their history in. Central Energy is definitely one of those places. There's no limit to what we...

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