Former Madeira Beach laundry to become event space

Treasure Island residents and local business owners Michele Smith, right, and Laurie Davidson-Smith, along with business partner Paul Ingledue, not shown, are planning to renovate a former laundry facility into an upscale event space.

TREASURE ISLAND — Treasure Island residents and local business owners Michele Smith and Laurie Davidson-Smith, along with business partner Paul Ingledue, are planning to renovate a former laundry facility into an upscale event space.

The building that locals once knew as the Blue Ribbon Laundry at 13435 Gulf Blvd. in Madeira Beach is due to be transformed into The West Events, an industrial-chic, blank-slate event venue that can host social and professional gatherings, corporate and nonprofit events, private parties and wedding receptions.

Slated to be event-ready in November, The West Events will offer three distinct rental spaces under one roof.

The Blue Ribbon Room, an homage to the building’s original name, is the main room and the primary rental space of the venue. The room will showcase its original, exposed brick walls and restored concrete floors, yet will be enhanced by modern design, ambient sound and lighting elements, and comfortable amenities.

The West Bar & Terrace will boast an indoor-outdoor bar area with access to the venue’s open courtyard, complete with bamboo privacy and sound-barrier fencing, as well as a live-plant wallscape and water feature.

The third space, The West Wing, which occupies the space once held by the Sea Captain — the oldest bar on the beach — will be renovated to serve as a more intimate space for smaller gatherings.

“While there are a number of event venues in the Tampa/St. Pete area, we saw a need for a space that offered guests not only convenient access to our amazing white sand beaches, but also access to one of the longest-standing fixtures of our Old Florida neighborhood roots,” said co-owner Laurie Davidson-Smith. “We want to celebrate the industrial character of this building and provide guests with the versatility to transform the building’s open floor plan into the venue of their dreams.”

Co-owner Michele Smith added, “We recently learned that part of the movie ‘Cocoon’ was filmed here, too, so, in a way, we’re happy to be a part of the newest metamorphosis.”

Smith, a two-time Olympic gold-medalist softball player, and Davidson-Smith are no strangers to seeing the potential in historic buildings that others deem derelict. Smith and Davidson-Smith purchased The Coral Lee Motel and Apartments on Sunset Beach in 2015, then a ramshackle relic of Old Florida, to become what is now Sunset Inn and Cottages, which currently ranks as TripAdvisor’s #1 hotel in Treasure Island. They took the same approach to invest in the renovation of a former gas station in the Grand Central District that now houses Urban Brew & BBQ. They are also co-owners of 6 West Beach Cottages, which, just steps away from The West Events site, will provide guests with potential lodging in conjunction with the use of the event space.

The West Events is pre-booking now for events scheduled for November and beyond. Already on the calendar for Dec. 7 is a local artisan holiday market, hosted by Keep Saint Petersburg Local, which will be open to the public.

For information about booking an event, visit thewesteventspace.com.