BOONE — The remodeling of the space now known as The Beacon Events and Catering — formerly the Water Wheel Cafe at 125 Graduate Lane off N.C. 105 — is speeding toward opening in the next few weeks.

The project is the work of Tina Houston, who also owns Reid’s Cafe and Catering and Betty’s Biscuits, located in Sugar Mountain near the intersection of N.C. 105 and Tynecastle Highway.

“We’re a couple weeks away,” Houston said on April 16. “We have gas, electrical and plumbing permits. We’ll get the (certificate of occupancy) in the last round.”

The Beacon will offer meeting spaces that could host business meetings, rehearsal dinners or other special events with seating for up to 150 people and technological capabilities such as Apple TV and projections.

“No matter the event, we’ll handle it,” Houston said.

One of the first events Houston plans to host is in conjunction with the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge.

Houston has had the cedar beams restored and is in the process of having the floor sealed and interior elements such as furniture and art work installed.

“So much was already in place,” Houston said. “We’re restoring its beauty.”

The Beacon’s kitchen will become home for in-house catering and a bar, offering turn-key catering services.

The kitchen will also be available as a commissary kitchen for local groups to use who do not have their own space.

“We have five users leased,” Houston said. “It’s a huge need. We didn’t realize how much of a need it was. I’m really stoked to have other people use this space.”

The need for a new space came up as Houston’s companies were growing and came about as a “natural flow.”

“We were busting at the seams,” Houston said. “Catering was a hustle.”

The Beacon used to be the Water Wheel Cafe, which was owned by Boone Bagelry. The cafe closed in December 2018.

One of the more recognizable aspects of the area is the water wheel, which is in need of repairs. The wheel has been flowing for the most part since 1975. Owned by 10 Federal MGMT, the company that owns the adjacent Studio West Apartments, the wheel has been stationary for months after being repaired in 2017. That work is coming soon, according to Houston, who said the company is currently getting quotes on the work.

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