The Kenmore Ballroom welcomed to Downtown | Downtown Albany

The Kenmore Ballroom welcomed to Downtown

The Kenmore Ballroom welcomed to Downtown

Two years after signing the lease for the space, and nearly 100 years after the historic Rain-Bo Room first opened its doors, The Kenmore Ballroom was welcomed to downtown Albany with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 16, 2021. Joining 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.   

"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.”  

Read the full press release here