A REVITALIZED TOWN HALL

After 18 seasons of Town Hall programming and over a century since its construction, our historic venue is ready for some love. We’re giving our landmark home a top-to-bottom renovation, with nuts-and-bolts necessities like seismic stabilization and vital patron improvements, we’re transforming Town Hall with modern accessibility and performance upgrades inside a historic shell. Thanks to support from our community, Town Hall is getting the love it needs to stay part of Seattle for another century—and to become a home all-year-round for our region’s art and ideas.

HISTORY

Our historic building first opened its doors in 1916 as the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist. When Town Hall purchased the building in 1998 we made a commitment the church to preserve the structure. But with success comes stress: more people have passed through our doors in the past 18 years than in the previous 84 combined, pushing our building’s century-old infrastructure to its limit. As part of the planning for the renovation project we self-nominated for Landmark status in order to keep the upgrades from altering the aesthetic of the structure. Our renovation will preserve this structure’s iconic shell, outfitting it for another 100 years of use.

STRUCTURE

The urgency of structural upgrades cannot be overstated. Our building is un-reinforced masonry, and needs seismic retrofitting for stabilization against earthquakes. The renovation will include other structural improvements as well, like a new roof and sheer walls with integrated steel for added stability.

ACCESSIBILITY

Town Hall is committed to maximizing access—to ideas, creativity, and conversation, but also to our seats, stages, and the building itself. That’s why we’re adding major ADA advances such as a new at-grade entrance to Downstairs at Town Hall on the west side of the building, with a drop-off area for visitors with limited mobility. Other improvements include:

  • A graded ramp at our 8th Ave entrance
  • Permanent installation of our hearing loop system
  • A new passenger elevator that makes movement throughout the building safer and easier for visitors with limited mobility
  • A new ADA restroom Downstairs at Town Hall, in addition to complete remodel of existing restrooms
  • Two new ADA accessible restroom stalls on lobby level

GUEST COMFORT

One of our most crucial upgrades will be the installation of 17 new gender-neutral restrooms on the lobby level, including 2 accessible stalls.

Anyone who’s been to a Town Hall performance in the early summer months can attest: it gets warm in there! That’s why we’re adding a climate control system to enable year-round programming.

DIGITAL STAGE

The addition of a broadcast center and media room will greatly expand our Digital Stage, expanding our platform for accessible digital streams and archives of Town Hall content.

  • Streaming services and video recordings
  • Podcasts highlighting content from our main series
  • Video interviews and exclusive content with our speakers and performers

THE GREAT HALL

Long-time friends of Town Hall are familiar with the Great Hall’s signature warmth, seating almost 900 people in the historic oak pews while creating a unique intimacy found in few other places of its size. The space will retain its characteristic look and feel (and landmark status), but with a few major improvements:

  • Acoustic Reflector, custom designed by BuildingWork, for amplified, unamplified, and vocal performances
  • Restoration of our iconic oak pews and stained glass windows
  • New stage and lighting grid, and enhanced digital capabilities

THE FORUM

Our Downstairs space is getting a full transformation to maximize its capabilities for versatile performances. Imagine one night arriving to a 50-seat circle for a round-table discussion with a speaker. The next night, an amphitheater for a children’s musical performance.

  • Modular stage and seating for shows ranging from 50-300 attendees
  • New library and bar to bookend venue/room
  • More natural light through redesigned windows, more comfortable climate control options, and easier access through the new 7th Ave entrance

With our non-fixed seating and stage, the Downstairs space will become the most flexible high-capacity performance space of its kind in Seattle.

THE READING ROOM

We’re converting our old staff offices on the main floor into a new performance space we’re calling The Reading Room. With a comfortable capacity of 75, the space will create an intimate atmosphere for small lectures, gatherings, and receptions, blurring the line between speaker and audience.

SUSTAINABILITY

Town Hall is a part of Seattle, and we intend for these renovations to anchor our building to the city for another century. That’s why we’ve kept up sustainability projections to ensure that even with the addition of climate control, a new elevator, 17 new restrooms, and enough digital media equipment to launch an entirely new venue, Town Hall will stay green. We’ve structured the renovation to keep our operating costs as low as possible, accounting for the upgrades through increased ticket sales (nearly all of our shows will still be just $5 or free!) and more availability to rent our spaces to partners year-round. Based on our estimates, Town Hall will be more accessible than ever without increasing costs of operation or utilities!

A HOME FOR OUR FUTURE

A home for new ideas, a platform for the voices of our community, a space to share connections with the people who inspire us—most importantly, Town Hall is yours. This renovation project will keep it that way for another century, ensuring that Town Hall remains a modern and sustainable home for curious, creative, and engaged Seattleites.

TIMELINE

The design and permitting phase for the restoration of Town Hall began in April 2014. Construction began in July 2017 and will finish in February 2019. In 2017 we kicked off INSIDE/OUT, a season of programs taking place in neighborhoods throughout Seattle. 

  • 2013: TEAM BUILDING

    Town Hall hired architects Weinstein AU and Project Management Team Point32 to help build the vision for a renewed Town Hall.

  • LATE 2013: OUR FIRST GIFT

    Town Hall received our first Capital Campaign gift, a $500,000 pledge from the True-Brown Foundation, in December, 2013.

  • 2014: DESIGN PHASE

    Concept Design was completed, and Town Hall quietly started raising support.

  • 2015: DESIGN APPROVAL

    Design Development was approved by the Town Hall board and Town Hall started talks with adjacent developers to collaborate on a vision for the full block.

  • LATE 2015: CAMPAIGN ACHIEVEMENT

    In September 2015, we passed the $10,000,000 mark in fundraising for the Campaign for Town Hall!

  • EARLY 2017: PERMITTING

    Design approved by Landmark Preservation Board, and final permitting is completed in early 2017

  • June 2017: Groundbreak

    Our Dig Deep campaign culminated with Groundbreak, a final week of events in “old” Town Hall at the end of June 2017.

  • July 2017: CONSTRUCTION

    Town Hall will close in July 2017 for nearly 18 months of construction.

  • Fall 2017: Inside/Out

    In fall of 2017 we began our Inside/Out season, bringing events to neighborhoods across Seattle while our building is closed.

  • September 2017: Campaign Achievement

    In September 2017, we passed the $22,000,000 mark in fundraising for the Campaign for Town Hall!

  • Fall 2018: Inside/Out Concludes

    After a short break for the Summer, the Inside/Out season continues from September through December 2018.

  • 2019: GRAND RE-OPENING

    Join us for a grand re-opening in February 2019.

STELLAR TEAM

The project is managed by Point 32 Services; designed by architects Weinstein A|U (design architect) and Building work (Architect of Record); acoustic engineering by Jaffe Holden; and built by RAFN Construction.

General Contractor RAFN is a leader among sustainable builders in the Puget Sound region. They have worked on projects such as the Seattle University’s Connolly Center and Campion Ballroom, the Bethany Presbyterian Church, and the Boeing Imax Theater.

Project Managers Point32 have overseen work for the Seattle Aquarium, The Bullitt Center, Woodland Park Zoo, the Olympic Sculpture Park, the Uptown Theater (now home of SIFF), and the Nobel Center in Stockholm.

Weinstein A+U is an Architecture and Urban Design firm who have worked on projects such as the Woodland Park Zoo West Entry, Kenmore Library, Temple de Hirsch Sinai Eastside Synagogue, and Hugo House.

BuildingWork (Architect of Record) focuses on the design of civic and community spaces, creative work places, adaptive re-use projects, and historic preservation.

Jaffe Holden is an acclaimed acoustic design consultancy, with project experience including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Hollywood Bowl, The Sterling Memorial Library Renovation at Yale, and the Kennedy Center at the Eisenhower Theater in Washington, DC.

Questions? We've got answers.

What’s happening to Town hall’s programming while the building is closed?

We’ve taken our programming to neighborhoods across Seattle in a season we’re calling Inside/Out. We’re pairing with community partners to co-curate events in venues across our city, bringing our content directly to our audience. Click here to read more about our 2017-18 Inside/Out season.

When will Town Hall be re-opening?

We’re re-opening our historic home in February of 2019. For more updates, keep an eye on our social media or subscribe to our weekly E-mail newsletter!

With this new availability, what kinds of programs can we expect to see?

You’ll be able to enjoy all the Town Hall programming you already love, just more of it! Our expanded performance areas and enhanced production capabilities will also allow us to rent our space to more partners, community organizers, and presenters. You’ll see more of Seattle reflected in these performances, making Town Hall more yours than ever before.

Does this mean Town Hall will be putting on events year-round?

Yes! With a climate control system for keeping the building comfortable during the summer months, we’ll be able to put on programming all year.  

Can you tell us more about the “digital stage”?

The Digital Stage is an ambitious new program set to launch alongside our 2018-19 season—it’s a digital venue with programs and content all its own! On this platform you can expect to find unique events that would only be possible through this digital medium: regularly curated podcasts, video interviews, live-streams of our events, and much more!

How can I support the renovation project?

This critical renovation project is only possible through the support of our community and our Town Hall members. Thanks to your generosity, we’re able to fund these necessary advancements and keep Town Hall a part of this town for another century. But construction is still underway—it’s not too late to show your love for Town Hall!