New Uses Explored for Mayo Island 

Alan Shaia, whose family owns the 6-acre island that has for years been home to some of the city's most well-attended outdoor concerts, confirms that Gilliam's company will manage the site.

The plan, Gilliam says, is to turn Mayo Island into a venue that can be used all year. Already Gilliam is pitching Mayo Island to potential clients as a great spot for such divergent events as company picnics, corporate team-building workshops and weddings.

"We think a lot of not-so-mainstream brides will like it because it's not polished yet and there are beautiful views of nature and the city," says Gilliam, who adds that Choice Events will employ a wedding coordinator. As for corporate events held on the island, Gilliam says he's working to "really make them an adventure" by offering recreational activities such as rafting and rock climbing — "all the bonding without the sweat."

Choice Events will occupy and manage the island for at least a year or until other businesses and projects drive up the rent. "A lot of big-time developers are looking at putting class-A offices" on the island, Gilliam says. When and if this happens, Gilliam says his company will still manage the three- to five-acre grassy open space that will remain undeveloped.

So far, he says, a few dates have been booked. Choice Events is still working on its brochure and Web site. And Gilliam seems confident that Mayo Island has an image problem that he can improve.

"I'd rather it have a reputation for things like weddings and corporate events than for grunge bands," he says.

Still, he doesn't shy away from wanting to book bands, too: "Concerts," he says, "could be the icing on the cake."




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