After just one change is made, the imposing KeyBank building on State Street will become an elegant banquet and conference facility for Proctors.
All Proctors has to do is move the marble teller’s counter that cuts the main room in half, Proctors CEO Philip Morris said. By fall it could reopen as a conference and banquet facility called Proctors Hall.
Morris announced the plans Wednesday at a news conference in the building. KeyBank sold the building to Proctors on Friday for $150,000.
Musical performances will eventually be held in the space, which has such perfect acoustics that Morris did not need a microphone during the news conference. But performances will have to wait until phase two of the project, which includes a retractable seating arrangement. Seats might fold into the floor or another space, as they do in the GE Theater.
However, the design will ensure that the space remains as majestic as it is now — and that’s critically important, Morris said.
He’s in a hurry to reopen the facility because he has a long list of groups that want to rent it. Many of them wanted a more elegant space than the GE Theater and the Proctors basement, which were designed to be functional rather than as beautiful as the Proctors main stage.
“That’s nothing against the GE Theater — that’s the way it was designed,” Morris said. “And it’s not big enough for both a conference and lunch. But a lot of conferences are hesitant to go downstairs to the educational center because it doesn’t look as good.”
Soon, they can hold their conferences on marble floors, under a vaulted three-story ceiling, and have lunch at the GE Theater, he said.
Morris could choose to do all renovations now, creating a performance space as well as the slight changes needed to turn the main room of the bank into a banquet and conference facility.
But that might take a year or more, and he doesn’t want to wait.
“I’ve got people ready to use this space,” he said. “If we had this space available today, I think within two weeks we would have 40 bookings.”
Beyond those who wanted a more elegant facility, some of those bookings are groups that needed more space than Proctors could provide. The bank building will allow Proctors to host banquets of up to 400 people, which previously could be accommodated only on the main stage. That stage is far too busy, now, for many banquets. Others wanted dates that were already booked.
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