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Rooftop installation comes with tricky access

Installation Spotlight | April 1, 2019 | By:

Dan Hooks, president of Party Reflections of Charlotte, N.C., describes Rooftop 210 as the most difficult venue for tenting in all of downtown Charlotte in terms of delivering equipment. Photos courtesy of Party Reflections.

Party Reflections gets the job done for “Hamilton” opening party.

Charlotte, N.C., boasts a unique venue known as Rooftop 210, where construction was halted on a high-rise hotel and a rooftop over a two-story restaurant was created instead.

“It is a beautiful spot during great weather, but when you cannot count on great weather, it must be tented because there is no refuge,” says Dan Hooks, CERP and president of Charlotte-based Party Reflections.

Tents were a must-have for the October 2018 opening night reception for the smash musical “Hamilton” and after-show dinner fundraiser for the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, located across the street. Hooks describes the rooftop as the most difficult venue of all downtown Charlotte locations in terms of delivering equipment. In fact, getting equipment to the site required more time than installing it. 

“Given the difficult access to the facility, we had to deliver the equipment to the rooftop the Sunday before the event the following Saturday night,” Hooks says. “The loading dock is on the opposite side of the building and the elevators near the docks only serve the office building.”

A crew of 15 unloaded three trucks of equipment one at a time because they only had access to part of the valet lane on Sunday.

“After unloading all tops, ballasts, parts and other equipment, everything had to be rolled or pallet jacked to the opposite side of the parking deck 250 feet away and then up another elevator to the rooftop level,” Hooks says. “Even after getting to the same floor as the rooftop, the equipment still had to be transported another 200 feet through another part of the building and onto the rooftop. All parts longer than 8 feet had to be hand carried up 74 steps to the rooftop around several turns.”  

The Party Reflections crew installed a 15-by-10-meter Losberger structure and additional TopTec frame tents. All of the clear tents were installed without gable hardware or fabric to allow for a clean view of the stage from every side of the venue, Hooks says. 

“One special request from the planner was to have several of our crew available to assist with a ‘flip’ of the space from cocktails to dinner while the guests were enjoying the show,” Hooks says. “Furniture and tables had to be switched out during the flip, and everything had to be taken down to the loading dock because there was no room for storage on the rooftop.”

Carpet was a last-minute request. Because of the access issues, the 12-foot rolls had to be cut down to 6-foot rolls to get them on the elevator.  

“This also increased the difficulty of installation and tightened our timeline for installation,” Hooks says. “There was another event planned for the space on Thursday night, so most of our work had to be done on Friday before the event.”

The other challenge was rain, which hindered some of the installation days. “Luckily, the last two days of install were beautiful and made for a perfect October event in the city,” he says.

The client was “ecstatic” to see his vision become reality, Hooks says, and the company was set to do the job all over again for the NBA All-Star weekend in February. 

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