EVANSVILLE — For Jack Rogers and his family, the revival of Fulton Avenue's lower corridor — where Sterling Brewery once stood — has been a years-long passion that's given the area a fresh look.
Redevelopment has progressed north along Fulton from the brewery site. The newest piece is City View at Sterling Square, an events center at 1310 W. Illinois St., in the building that once was the Central Labor Council. More recently, it was a haunted house.
Rogers' family obtained the 1910-era buildings two years ago. Their work is done, and the building is available for corporate and holiday events, weddings and more. A grand opening was held earlier this week.
"This was the next step along the corridor," said Rogers' son, John. "We acquired it originally for the parking. As we all know, parking is pretty scarce. We didn't want the use of this facility to compete with our other existing office and retail users."
The family eventually saw far greater potential than a parking lot. "We settled on an events space, it was the natural evolution of thinking," John Rogers said.
The Rogers created a space that mingles historic ambiance and modern amenities. The building's original brick remains, as does maple flooring on the second floor that looks as good as new.
A spacious first floor is known as the 1910 Ballroom. It has a movable bar and space for a live band and dancing. It can seat about 260 people.
There's also a second floor ballroom, a service kitchen and specialty rooms that can be used for bride prep, groom prep or breakout areas for a corporate event. The facility has videoconferencing capabilities and an elevator.
Designers wanted to make the facility as versatile as possible, Rogers said. He described it as "a canvas for an event planner to paint on."
Rogers declined to reveal the redevelopment's cost, except to say it was substantial.
"It's been a passion project for us," he said of City View. "We've got a number of projects kicking around right now, but this one that's universally exciting for us."
Jack Rogers first purchased the Sterling Brewery site in 1998. A major tenant of the redeveloped area at 110 N. Fulton Ave. is SS&C Technologies.
John Rogers, a partner in his family company, said some people call the redeveloped area Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, but its preferred moniker honors the brewery's history.
"We call it Sterling Square," he said.