PORTLAND — On Dec. 16, much of Soleil Dufour’s attention was focused on the ice skating rink and snow tube run at Thompson’s Point.
In a little more than three months, his attention will be coming back indoors, when an events center opens at the Brick South building.
“Portland has been in need of a larger event space,” Dufour said about the 25,000 square feet inside the building, which dates to 1903.
Once used as a railroad maintenance shop, the Brick South Event Center will have room for 2,500 people. The first scheduled event is the Sunaana music festival March 3-4. In April, Brick South will become the new home of the Maine Flower Show, formerly held at the Portland Co. complex at 58 Fore St.
The Brick South interior much resembles mill buildings that dot many Maine towns and cities, with exposed brick and open space punctuated only by supporting beams and columns.
Dufour said a new concrete floor was poured in September, and the renovation will incorporate large doors for truck access to set up shows, weddings and other events.
“You can basically pull up into the building and unload,” he said.
Once inside, the expanse of space will include a service bar, kitchen, and changing rooms. The most extensive work is the plumbing for new restrooms. The interior will still recall the building’s history.
“We don’t want to drastically change the character of the building,” Dufour said, adding the ground-level setting makes access easy for all visitors.
Across the parking lot, the Brick North building is now completely leased, with tenants including Cellardoor Winery, Bissell Brothers Brewing Co., Stroudwater Distillery, Big J’s Chicken Shack and the International Cryptozoology Museum. Dufour said they would like to work with those tenants to host events at Brick South or have them provide services for Brick South events.
Developer Chris Thompson has been redeveloping the acreage between the Portland Transportation Center, Interstate 295 and the Fore River. The rink where skaters now glide becomes a concert space in the summer, and home to the Maine Brewers’ Guild festival. Development plans for the 30 acres still include a hotel, small arena and housing.
“The rehabilitation of Brick South is a key part of the redevelopment of Thompson’s Point as Portland’s emerging new neighborhood,” Thompson said. “We see the Brick South Event Center as becoming a cultural hub for Thompson’s Point.”
The Brick South building at Thompson’s Point in Portland is being turned into an event center with capacity for up to 2,500 people. Work is expected to be done in early March 2017.
The Brick South building at Thompson’s Point in Portland dates to 1903.