Historic downtown building finishing renovation for wedding, event hall

One of Dayton’s most historic downtown buildings will soon be home to wedding venue and event center Grande Hall.

The 284-foot tall Liberty Tower was once the tallest building in Dayton for years and remains the only Art Deco architecture-styled building in the Gem City. It was featured in the 2018 Robert Redford movie “The Old Man and the Gun,” sparking interest in the 23-story building for other uses.

“For years we’ve heard that we should hold weddings here and we finally took that to heart,” said building manager Jenna Kreitzer.

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Other new event centers have opened in Dayton over the last several years, including the Steam Plant at 617 E. Third Street, renovated from a former DP&L building in 2017.

"One of the things that we considered was how much downtown was growing. With the construction on the river and all of the meetings that are happening in downtown Dayton, we felt like it was a good time…events are coming back downtown along with businesses and everything else," said Renee McClure owner of Elite Catering and Events, which will manage the catering, set up, tear down and bookings at Grande Hall.

The 22,000 square-foot venue will include the main floor, balcony, mezzanine areas like a bridal suite and conference space and a large refurbished bank vault with a penny floor and custom banquet seating with a “loungy feel,” Kreitzer said.

"The space can be used for anything from photobooth to bar to private dining space. It's really going to have a lot of opportunities for creative use," she said.

The lobby has 35-foot ceilings, original art deco features, marble floors, large arched windows and a historic boardroom with a fireplace. Redevelopment includes keeping those historic components while adding new restrooms and accessibility lifts to the balcony, Kreitzer said.

Weddings, off site training events, conferences, smaller groups that need breakout space and nonprofits will be able to use the space that seats roughly 350. Grande Hall at Liberty Tower will provide the table and chairs, as well as mobile bar components made from original bank components like check writers. Catering will also be available through exclusive partner, Elite Catering.

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Construction is expected to wrap up in late April and the first event is on the books for late May with about 16 weddings scheduled for 2019, McClure said. The venue will offer valet options and partner with the Shuster Arts Garage across the street.

“Lots of people (are) anxious and can kind of see through the dust and construction and what it’s going to be,” McClure said.

Liberty Tower will offer extra hours to the current security team for events and Elite has added one full-time position to manage clients and plans to hire 22 part-time workers by the middle of the second quarter, she said.


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