A new outdoor venue that can hold about 350 people has opened at Beaufort Town Center Shopping Plaza near Kmart, according to the company that owns the space.
The new Center Stage in the middle of the plaza's parking lot was opened by 303 Associates this weekend with a pet adoption fair. The company plans to install new lighting and a new floor, possibly made of Astroturf, CEO Dick Stewart said.
"People need an easy, convenient, accessible place with plenty of parking for their community events," Stewart said. "We've had events in the parking area before, but we're just starting to (mark) the space."
Stewart said merchants in the shopping plaza have approached him about hosting events in which customers can sample their products and services.
The space can accommodate events such as holiday celebrations, farmers markets and youth gatherings, according to Amy Faulkner, who is in charge of booking the space.
For bookings, call Faulkner at 843-379-3470.
The company had planned to create a grassy area in the parking lot but could not get approval from the city, Stewart said.
Libby Anderson, Beaufort's planning director, said in an e-mail that 303 Associates asked to create a landscaped area with 10 live oak trees in the parking lot, but that was inconsistent with the Boundary Street Master Plan, which guides how the street is developed.
The event space is on a proposed building site and "was possibly encroaching in the (right of way) of a Main Street shown in the plan," Anderson wrote.
"Rather than planting trees in an area proposed for development, we suggested that the proposed landscaping be moved approximately 40 feet to the west to avoid this conflict."
Stewart has said relocating the park would have violated parking-lot leases with plaza tenants.
Other recent business openings, closings and changes in the area:
Neil Lipsitz, whose family owns the property, said the building has been leased, but he did not have more details about the pub or when it would open.
The restaurant owner could not be reached for comment late last week.