Proposed Ballroom at McKay Tower could bring majestic celebration space to downtown Grand Rapids

Development to convert a buttoned-down marble bank lobby into majestic ballroom space in downtown Grand Rapids is halfway to its goal with Planning Commission approval last week. If the Grand Rapids City Commission approves the new use on Nov. 27, the historic McKay Tower (146 Monroe Center Ave. NW) could open the proposed Ballroom at McKay for its first wedding reception, banquet, or business conference in spring 2013.

The former Grand Rapids National Bank lobby features impressive granite walls, massive floor-to-ceiling marble columns, a mezzanine overlooking the main floor, and the original bank vault, all of which will be incorporated into a new 250-seat event space in the heart of downtown. The space has been vacant since 2008.

Building owners Steadfast Property Holdings, LLC, plan to add a commercial catering kitchen and obtain a liquor license for the venue.

"Downtown Grand Rapids continues to be the desired location for special events and we felt that our product is one that would be well received," says Chaundra Derks, director of operations for Steadfast Property Holdings. "It has been our intention since acquiring the building in May to build out the bank into some sort of special space, so our recent announcement is just part of our overall strategy for re-inventing McKay Tower."

McKay Tower is situated across the street from Rosa Parks Circle and home to many local businesses, including Kilwin's, Biggby Coffee, Sushi-Yama, Subs N More, Chic's Frame & Poster, and Charlie's Shoe Repair.

Source: Chaundra Derks, Steadfast Property Holdings; Craig Clark, Clark Communications
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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