The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum has long been one of the most popular meeting and event venues in the area. A recent project has reaffirmed that status. The venue expanded last year with the addition of the Conference Center that created more than 50,000 square feet of new space.
It serves as a multi-purpose event space with expanded pre-function and service space.
“We wanted to invest in a multi-purpose space that could be used by trade shows, banquet and conference events alike,” says Nathan Dennison, vice president of sales. “We also wanted to make it event planner friendly.”
Dennison says the Coliseum saw a demand for such an investment. Annual events like the Fort Wayne Farm Show, Fort Wayne Home & Garden Show and the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale all wanted to grow and this space allows for that, Dennison says. Specific features like retractable overhead doors and portable walls mean the space can be sized appropriately for each event’s needs. The room can be divided into five separate spaces to allow for breakout sessions.
The space is just as much about aesthetics as it is about practicality. Planners and attendees, he says, complained in the past about lobby spaces feeling “cold.” To counter this, the Coliseum added ceramic tiles that look like wood and connote a rustic feel. Dennison says this is perfect for brides who want to follow popular trends without the hassle of having an outdoor ceremony or reception.
Technology upgrades also offer form and function. According to Dennison, the facility has a “high tech look and feel.” For example, LED programmable lighting adds a new dimension to events. There are also three sets of built-in screens and projectors which seamlessly can be integrated into the space and removed with the push of a button.
Tech may dazzle, but what is an event without food? Knowing that food is a major part of an event experience, Dennison says the Coliseum wanted to elevate its culinary offerings to “wow” people.
Aramark is not necessarily known locally for fine dining and it is determined to change that perception.
To that end, the CREATE Tasting Kitchen provides an opportunity for event planners and clients to have a private, high-end space for pre-event tastings. It can also be used separately for small private events, or along with the Conference C space in a variety of ways. For example, Dennison says staff used the room as a pasta bar for the Farm Show and it was a huge hit.
While clients and vendors have already reaped the benefits of this project, Dennison says there’s also a long-term impact to be considered.
“The Memorial Coliseum generates more than $100 million of local economic impact annually and with the expansion it will only increase further,” he says.
Address: 4000 Parnell Avenue Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
Phone: (260) 482-9502
Years in Business: 65