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Schenectady's Key Hall gets repairs and a bath for 99th birthday

Schenectady's Key Hall gets repairs and a bath for 99th birthday

Proctors operates grand former bank as event venue
Schenectady's Key Hall gets repairs and a bath for 99th birthday
Key Hall undergoes facade renovations on State Street in Schenectady Friday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

SCHENECTADY — A grand old downtown building will get a fluff and buff just in time for its 100th birthday.

Facade cleanup and repairs are underway on Key Hall, the bank-turned-event venue operated by Proctors, which is two doors down on State Street. New LED lighting will be added as part of the project, which is expected to be complete in the next few weeks.

The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority is covering the $60,000 cost of the work. Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said the local landmark with its distinctive columns is a focal point downtown, one that will benefit from a good cleaning.

“Coming down Jay toward Proctors, which a lot of people are doing, it’ll really make a nice impression,” he said Friday.

Hot water is being used for the cleaning. The mortar in the limestone facade is being repaired or replaced as needed. The new LED lights will accentuate the distinctive stonework of the building. The large, corroded flagpoles coming off the facade at an angle — a common feature on downtown buildings a century ago — will be replaced and their bases rebuilt.

Gillen said the facade was in better shape than one might have expected for 99 years old, so the project wasn’t as expensive as it could have been. Metroplex awarded the cleaning and repair work to PCC Contracting and the lighting work to M/E Engineering and Schenectady Hardware & Electric.

The building was constructed in 1920 for Citizens Trust Bank, whose name is still imprinted near the roofline. It was one of more than 400 bank buildings designed nationwide by the New York City architecture firm Mowbray and Uffinger in the early 20th century.

Its final use as a financial institution was by KeyBank, which sold it to Proctors in 2010. 

It is now connected via a corridor to Proctors as part of the downtown entertainment/event complex, hosting meetings and weddings. It retains its original grandeur, with a 40-foot-high ceiling, the Italian marble in the ballroom, and room for 200 guests at a sit-down event or 300 at a reception. The old bank vault is polished up and part of the atmosphere.

“As a gathering place, Key Hall is unparalleled in the city,” Proctors CEO Philip Morris said in a news release. “This project, thanks to Metroplex, will make the outside as beautiful as the inside.”

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