Couple plans downtown event venue

120 Ionia Ave. SW Grand Rapids pre-conversion to The Rutledge

A new downtown event venue is in the works.

Verdigris Venues, registered to the husband-and-wife team of Loren Hansen and Susan Hansen, recently received special land-use approval from the Grand Rapids Planning Commission to convert part of an office building at 120 Ionia Ave. SW into a banquet hall and event venue, dubbed The Rutledge.

The venue would occupy about 6,000 square feet on the first floor.

Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction recently began the space’s build out, which should finish in three months.

The Hansens plan for The Rutledge to be ready by this fall.

“It was hard to imagine this property as an event space, because it was an office space, and it had so many walls,” Susan Hansen said. “But it had great bones, and it’s in a great location.”

The Hansens plan to restore the first floor of the building, upgrading all surfaces and furnishings to create an “elegant event venue.” The space would include a banquet hall with seating to accommodate up to 280 people for events such as weddings.

Other features would include a bar area, individual restrooms, a bridal suite and a large prep room for vendors.

The Hansens plan to run a roughly five-person person staff, including themselves.

Susan Hansen said she has been working events her entire life, beginning with helping her mother plan weddings, baby showers and other events for family.

“We have a 25-year-old and 23-year-old who are out on their own, and now I have time to work towards something I’m passionate about,” she said.

Photo: Courtesy Susan Hansen

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