An event venue hidden in downtown Blacksburg’s façade is growing in popularity with both Virginia Tech and the local community.
The New Life Christian Fellowship leases the venue, 130 Jackson, from Blue Ridge Real Estate and opens its doors for various types of events.
130 Jackson’s building manager and event scheduler, Brandon Thompson, said NLCF wanted to have a space not only for themselves, but also for the community.
“The priority was to see that we had a space that could be used by everyone,” Thompson said. “It was also a nice bonus that we had a place.”
NLCF began renovations on the space in 2006 with the intention of the venue being used for whatever the community needed.
“I think it’s built with the idea in mind that we could be versatile,” Thompson said.
According to the website, 130jackson.com, the space was used by the American Red Cross and several restaurants before NLCF began leasing it. Major renovations were done to give it a café lounge vibe, and an in-house sound system was set-up to complete the venue.
Thompson also said they purchased a lot of furniture, which can be moved around or stored away depending on the event.
“The vibe of the venue is that it is extremely versatile,” he said. “It can be converted into anything you need.”
130 Jackson can be used for business meetings, concerts, dances, parties or theatre productions, Thompson said.
“It’s so easy to make this place what you need it to be,” he said. “How do you even describe a vibe like that?”
The use of the sound system is included in the rental fee, which can be appealing instead of having one moved into someone’s house. There are flat rates for different types of events, which Thompson said is an important factor to them. The rental fees go to the NLCF, but they do not make profits from renting the space.
“Basically our rental fees don’t come close to defraying it 100 percent, but we’re just trying to defray it to the extent that we’re still meaningfully usable to the community,” Thompson said.
The local community and Tech are using 130 Jackson more and more as word about the tucked away venue spreads.
Even though the building is hidden from view and the fellowship’s budget limits their advertising abilities, people are still finding out about it by word of mouth, Thompson said.
The venue was booked 80 times for non-NLCF events during the Spring and booking for the Summer had to be cut off, because the management needed to adjust to accommodate all of the interests, Thompson said. There are already events scheduled for the fall season approaching.
“Last year was unquestionably the most used year,” Thompson said. “We’re readjusting to be able to do a better job with more people.”
During the school year, the venue is used most by NLCF, but their events and services typically are not on weekend nights, which is when others need it most.
“We’ve tried to do our best to think of it holistically to also serve the community,” Thompson said. “Most people are asking for Friday and Saturday.”
Maggie McVicar, junior communication major and Delta Psi Nu’s Local Service and Leadership Fraternity’s rush coordinator, met with Thompson to plan a rush event at 130 Jackson.