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Historic Buildings Repurposed into Inspiring Meeting Spaces

By M+E Staff

From an 1838 mansion in New York to a 108-year-old bank and former courthouse in Kentucky, historic buildings around the United States are being repurposed into hotels and meeting and event spaces, providing memorable places to gather. Here are five excellent examples.

Founded in 1789 along the shores of the shores of Cayuga Lake, the entire village of Aurora, New York, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Following a 20-year dedication to the preservation of Aurora’s historic buildings that has resulted in a unique collection of five boutique hotels, Inns of Aurora recently opened its capstone restoration, Taylor House Conference Center.

The 1838 Greek Revival-inspired home now features two floors of meeting and event space that includes original fireplaces, detailed crown molding, intricate plasterwork, and floor-to-ceiling windows. On the top floor, a 1,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art boardroom seats up to 36 and can be broken into three separate meeting spaces, while the 2,000-square-foot first floor has three grand parlors, a dining room with vaulted ceilings, and original 1871 woodwork. There also is an outdoor patio that accommodates up to 50 guests 

The U.S. courthouse building in Lexington, Kentucky, was constructed between 1898-1900 from native Kentucky limestone in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The building sat vacant for several years when the decision was made in 2016 to rehabilitate and adaptively reuse the magnificent structure, transforming it into a place for public and private activity. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, the restored building reopened in late 2018 with the third floor transformed into an event venue known as Limestone Hall, featuring two event rooms connected by a rotunda with the revitalized original dome.

Also in Lexington, the 108-year-old former First National Bank Building is now an 88-room boutique hotel and contemporary art museum, 21c Museum Hotel.  Operating now as a hotel, restaurant, and contemporary art museum that’s free and open to the public, the renovation preserved the original building. Paying homage to First National Bank, groups can book an intimate dining experience in a room called “The Safe” at the on-site restaurant, Lockbox. In addition, there is a large main gallery that can hold up to 250 for receptions, five private galleries to accommodate meetings and events for 10 to 100, and a small conference room for a maximum of 12.

Constructed in 1925, the Reynolds Arcade was initially built as a hotel but became a professional office space known as the Executive Plaza. The structure went back to its hotel origins in 2018 with the opening of The Bristol Hotel. The 65-room repurposed property has 3,800 square feet of meeting and event space, including a historic ballroom and several boardrooms, and a private rooftop lounge. 

A historic restoration of Asheville, North Carolina’s former steel foundry, known for forging the steel used in building the local Biltmore Estate, resulted in The Foundry Hotel. The 87-room luxury boutique property combines three buildings constructed in 1915 with two new structures in the heart of The Block neighborhood, Asheville’s oldest African American business district. The property has three function spaces available to groups.