ALBANY, N.Y.: A historic event venue that’s been reimagined was welcomed to downtown Albany today, September 16, 2021. Joining The Kenmore Ballroom owners Katie O’Malley Maloney and Nate Maloney and Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) Executive Director Georgette Steffens in celebrating the 76 N Pearl Street venue were Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Senator Neil Breslin, Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, Redburn Development Partners Principal Jeff Buell, development partners, and community members.
The grand opening comes two years after the lease was signed for the 15,000-square-foot space, one year after The Kenmore Ballroom’s first event, and nearly 100 years after the Rain-Bo Room opened its doors. Following Redburn Development Partners investing over $2 million to transform what was offices into an event venue, The Kenmore Ballroom pays homage to the building’s history while offering 21st century amenities.
“I’m thrilled to finally be joining the Maloneys, Redburn Development and the Downtown BID in cutting the ribbon on the Kenmore Ballroom” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “This event has been delayed due to COVID-19, but not even a pandemic could stop forward thinking minds of Katie O’Malley-Maloney, Nate Maloney and Jeff Buell who have executed their vision of revitalizing this more than 100-year-old venue to a modern version of its former beauty. The Kenmore Ballroom is the ideal anchor tenant in this historic building that now offers stunning event space perfect for the high-quality events that Katie and her team produce. I want to thank Redburn Development for the continued investment in Downtown Albany and for helping to bring back this piece of Albany’s history in way that will allow so many to share its splendor as they celebrate momentous life events.”
Now an anchor tenant of the Kenmore Building, part of the Redburn Development Partners $80-plus million Downtown portfolio, the space wasn’t on O’Malley Maloney’s radar until Redburn Development Partners Principal Jeff Buell shared his vision, proposing that O’Malley Maloney bring her experience to the world-famous Rain-Bo Room. The idea piqued her interest due to both the space and that she’d started her career as Promotions Director for Jillian’s when it first opened; her own venue just across the street decades later was a full circle moment, she said, and with the support of husband, Nate Maloney and Operations Manager Casey Benson, wheels were put in motion.
The Kenmore Ballroom is the first joint venture that the Maloneys have taken together. They formed a new company, named after their daughter, With Grace Management, to manage the Downtown location. This opportunity is a natural extension for Katie’s event planning business, Katie O’ Weddings & Events. She has worked for the past 12 years with over 400 couples and families in planning and implementing celebrations in the Capital Region and far beyond.
"The history of the building was always at the forefront of the design planning, especially with Elizabeth Young Jojo leading the overall plan. We always wanted to honor the space as it was back in the 20's but with a dedicated effort to make it modern for today's clientele.” said The Kenmore Ballroom Owner Katie O’Malley Maloney. “This space is truly a special adventure fueled by passion, dreaming big and family. We loved the history of the building and the pure potential to make it our own, and are dedicated to our community, providing a space to celebrate and share some of life's happiest moments, we are driven by hospitality and strive for excellence with each event.”
With support including $5 million in grants from Empire State Development, a National Grid grant, and State and Federal Historic Tax Credits, it was possible for Redburn Development Partners to bring the couple's vision to life. The transformation involved cutting the second floor back open and reintroducing the upper-level mezzanine and grand staircase that were prominent features of the Rain-Bo Room, which hosted singers and musicians including Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington. With a 300-person capacity limit, The Kenmore Ballroom also features 25’ high ceilings, restored mosaic tiles in the main lobby, recreated light boxes around the second floor cut out, floor to ceiling windows on the mezzanine level, multiple entrances, separate bar and lounge on the main level, and an on-site finishing kitchen for caterers.
While COVID-19 changed plans, it did not change interest, with O’Malley Maloney noting that there were inquiries before renovations were complete or even sight unseen. Tours took place at The Kenmore Ballroom when events couldn’t, and frequently resulted with a “Wow!” response from visitors, particularly related to the staircase, chandelier, and cocktail lounge. Personalized VIP tours were also offered to industry professionals that included a “drink on us” voucher so participants could toast at a local restaurant to support Downtown’s neighborhood businesses. When the first event took place in September 2020, with a COVID-compliant 35-person wedding ceremony, O’Malley Maloney said while smaller than anyone planned, “the overall feeling of love, joy and happiness was enough for 200+ guests. Finally having people in the doors to celebrate filled our hearts.”
"Today’s opening is reflective of the historical significance of the Kenmore Ballroom,” said Senator Neil Breslin. “I applaud the owners, Katie O’Malley Maloney and Nate Maloney, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District and Redburn Development for their efforts to bring this renovation to life."
“We continue to see transformative change in downtown Albany as a result of a concerted effort by a myriad of partnerships,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “Congratulations to the Maloneys, Redburn Development, and more for making this project happen amidst a global pandemic economy and I thank all of these partners for continuing to be a part of Albany’s success and investing in our post-pandemic renaissance.”
"We have seen a wonderful transformation in Downtown Albany with the redevelopment work undertaken by Redburn Development and the re-imagining of the Kenmore Ballroom breathes life back into this venue that has an incredibly rich history,” said Assemblymember John McDonald. “Congratulations to the With Grace Management team, the Redburn Team, and all of the partners who have worked to ensure that the Kenmore Ballroom will be utilized and enjoyed for generations to come. Thank you to Empire State Development for providing necessary state funding assistance for this project. The pandemic has forced many to adjust their plans and expectations and it is a testament to the perseverance of everyone involved in this project that we are here today. We are all hopeful to get back to safely celebrating special events together once again and this space is an exciting and beautiful space to create some new memories."
“We continue to see firsthand the transformation taking shape at the Kenmore, and we now have Redburn Development and the Maloneys to thank for this incredible ballroom as the latest addition to Downtown Albany,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “Couples have long chosen this neighborhood for weddings for the incredible views and one-of-a-kind architecture. I’m confident that by capitalizing on that, this venue – which honors the history of the Kenmore and our city – will bring more investment and tourism to the entire region and help support our economic recovery.”
“The centerpiece of the Kenmore building – both in its heyday in the early 1900’s – and today – is the Kenmore Ballroom,” said Redburn Development Partners Principal Jeff Buell. “Restoring this important piece of Albany’s history was a true labor of love for the Redburn Team. We thank Katie, Nate and Casey for their vision and ESD, National Grid, Capitalize Albany, and all of the many community partners that helped see the Kenmore Project through to completion.”
"Downtown is experiencing incredible transformation of vacant and underutilized properties into destinations with world-class amenities, and we are thrilled to welcome The Kenmore Ballroom to that list,” said Downtown Albany BID Executive Director Georgette Steffens. “Katie and Nate are known for their high-quality events, and it speaks volumes that a partnership with Redburn Development has resulted in their first dedicated venue being in downtown Albany. Our thanks to everyone who helped bring this historic venue back to life, and our congratulations to all of the couples as they start the next chapter of their lives right here in our District.”
The Kenmore Ballroom, located at 76 N Pearl Street, welcomes all events from intimate dinner parties, holiday parties, fundraisers, conferences, meetings, milestone birthdays, showers, and engagement parties, and is booking as far out as 2023. For more information and to book a tour, visit thekenmoreballroom.com or call 518.469.6102.
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