Original venue for Life in Color paint party still under construction

The Fluid Events Center, the intended venue for Friday’s Life In Color paint party and electronic dance music concert, is still under construction. The show has been postponed to an undetermined later date.

The building, located at 601 N. Country Fair Road in Champaign, still awaits multiple final inspections mostly involving building safety, including the electrical and sprinkler systems, handicap accessibility, bathrooms and exit signs, said Larry Happ, building safety supervisor for the City of Champaign fire department. Before it can open and host events, the Fluid Events Center must pass this series of final inspections to receive its certificate of occupancy.

The most recent inspection was a partial building inspection Wednesday, he said.

“We need to make sure the venue is safe and usable for everybody according to Champaign City and state ordinances,” Happ said.

The city of Champaign issued a permit for the building on June 28, although it has been approved on June 24. Tickets went on sale as early as June 26, before construction on the Fluid Events Center began. It was supposed to be ready by the Sept. 20 concert date, but Perry Davidson, a co-owner of the center, said construction moved too slow.

Zach Samson, Life in Color’s national events director, did not return a request for comment. 

As to whether such a timeline is feasible, Happ said he has done inspections for many buildings with assembly-type occupancy, and it all depends on the owner and contractor.

“I’ve seen projects get crews out there working 24 hours a day and get things done really quickly, but I’ve also seen the reverse of that, so it’s totally up to them as far as scheduling,”  he said. “We just kind of follow their timeline and perform (inspections) when they request them.”

Although a future date for the event has not been set, Davidson said he is “sure the building will be ready beforehand.”

Happ noted that in relation to what he has seen in the past, the Fluid Events Center does have a “pretty high occupant load.”

The front area, which is designed more for events like wedding receptions, can hold 900 people standing and 500-600 seated people. The back area is a big open area with a seated occupancy of 1,000 and a standing occuapancy of about 2,500, which can vary depending on the event, Happ said.

“We will typically have a fire marshal come out and do an inspection before they have large events like that and make sure everything is up to par,” Happ said.

The center used to be a lumberyard and later a factory-type entity designed for the manufacturing parts of buildings like roof tresses and wall panels. It was also utilized for retail and storage purposes, Happ said.

It will ultimately be a multi-purpose center for retail, wedding receptions and larger events like Life In Color. 

The location also includes a building in the back for which a permit has been applied to convert into a haunted house. That application still awaits approval, Happ said. 

Maggie can be reached at [email protected]