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Historic downtown building becoming event space

July 4, 2019
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Ladies Literary Club building downtown Grand Rapids
Courtesy The Lit

A group of investors is transforming a historic building downtown into an event space.

The former Ladies Literary Club building, built in 1881 at 61 Sheldon Blvd. SE in Grand Rapids, is undergoing a renovation project to become The Lit event space.

The two-story, 6,000-square-foot building will have banquet seating for around 175 people and theater-style seating for about 300 people.

The building owners — Joe Pohlen, Chuck Gray, Mike Tateman and Robert DeVerna — are investing $1 million into the project. They purchased the building from Calvin College in October 2018, according to city property records.

The building is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

The renovated main hall will have an open floor plan that includes the original stage, antique chandeliers, an audio-visual system and new accent lighting.

The Lit will also include 1915 Tiffany & Co. stained-glass Shakespearean windows, dressing rooms, a bar, 1940s paintings and Ladies Literary Club memorabilia displays.

The project is expected to be completed in August.

The architect on the project is Grand Rapids-based Progressive AE, and the project’s general contractor is Grand Rapids-based Honor Construction. The bar was designed by Grand Rapids-based JRA Food Service Consultants.

Financing for the project was provided by Horizon Bank.

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