“Wall Breaking Ceremony” kicks off Embassy renovation


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  A $10 million project to fix up areas of the Embassy Theatre that have not been used in over 40 years officially got underway Tuesday morning.

The “Wall Breaking Ceremony” took place at 10:30 am at the downtown facility.

The renovation project will address the upper floors of what was once the Indiana Hotel which is adjacent to the Embassy.

Photos: Embassy Theatre and Indiana Hotel

Once finished, there will be a two-story tall ballroom, a rooftop garden, studio and rehearsal space, classrooms, a history center as well as improved public access and concessions areas according to a news release issued by the Embassy Theatre. Mayor Tom Henry said this will open the doors to more opportunities for new conventions to come to town.

“Visitors that come into Fort Wayne that utilize our convention center, which is right across the street. And many times, they actually run out of space because conventions are becoming so large,” said Mayor Henry. “There’s only so much room available. So now they can expand across the street into the new Embassy Indiana Hotel compound.”

Kelly Updike, Embassy Theatre’s executive director, said this construction is in line with the city’s vision of making downtown a destination.

“We’re a part of downtown and the revitalization going on and that was a strong window of opportunity for us,” Updike said.

The Embassy’s board and staff researched the best uses of the building over the course of several years following the 2009 renovation of the third-floor that connected the building with the Grand Wayne Center and the Courtyard by Marriott via sky bridges.

So far, 91 percent of the fundraising goal for the “A Vision for the Embassy” has been met, which equals to $7.3 million.

Updike said the love for the historic theatre has made fundraising efforts simple and smooth.

Construction should be completed by the end of 2015.

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