April 18, 2018

On the Ball with Teragram Ballroom

The theater the Teragram Ballroom inhabits has been active since 1913, but it wasn’t until recently that its use as an arts space was re-established. Under the direction of brother duo Brian and Michael Swier, the Teragram Ballroom saw a return to its theatrical roots and its conversion into a live entertainment space complete with an on-site bar and restaurant. The Swiers reached out to FE Design to coordinate alcohol licensing, health and building permits, and expediting services for the century-old building.


Since the building had most recently operated as a print shop, FE filed for a change of use permit to allow for the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcoholic beverages, live entertainment and patron dancing, a theater and restaurant, and alterations to the facade. As the space had once been a theater and the domed ceiling, original lobby area, and intact stage were still prominently featured in the building, the previously existing use was revitalized.


The most challenging aspect of the project was procuring community support for Teragram Ballroom as other nearby bars and establishments set a poor precedent for respecting neighboring locals. With an interest in appeasing community concerns, FE set out to construct substantive plans that would protect the neighborhood and assuage any complaints.


We highlighted the rehabilitated property’s positive influence on crime rates at community meetings and outreach efforts where we also detailed the lengths at which the Teragram team was willing to go to keep the space neighborhood-friendly. This included extensive plans for security guards and camera, queuing lines, patron access, and parking arrangements. An acoustical engineer was even hired to retrofit the property and ensure that noise and vibrations emanating from the venue would not adversely affect the surrounding properties.


We wrapped up the project with health and building permits, kitchen design for the on-site diner converted into a sit-down restaurant, and resolving an industrial waste violation. Through amassing widespread community support and re-establishing a historic venue, FE Design ensured that the Teragram Ballroom can continue its place as a leader in the Downtown area.


Photo courtesy of USA Today.