LEWISTON, Maine, May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Agora Grand Event Center, a private event venue created from the former St. Patrick's Church, has announced that it will immediately begin offering no-fee venue rentals to Maine nonprofit organizations that provide services or benefits to Mainers, such as organizations that serve children, veterans, the homeless, victims of abuse, and those in medical need, as well as organizations that provide tangible benefits to Mainers as a whole, such as economic development and the arts. The offer is subject to terms and availability and is limited to weekday events with guest counts between 100 and 450.
Andrew Knight, the property's owner, said that he was motivated to contribute the event center to charities and nonprofits out of a sense of social responsibility. "After talking to hundreds of residents and former parishioners, I realized that this is more than just a building. It's a gem upheld by the memories of Lewistonians and they should have access to it."
The Agora Grand happens to be Maine's tallest building, a fact Knight didn't discover until long after he'd purchased it. This places Knight in the unusual position of being the only person who individually owns the tallest building in a U.S. state, a fact that he says imbues him with a sense of obligation as the building's de facto caretaker. To this end, respect was paid during the building's 2015 renovation to maintain its heritage, with particular emphasis on reusing and repurposing obsolete items. Examples include the creation of a bar from pipe organ elements, restoration of the massive stained glass rose window, and construction of a two-level lounge in the choir balcony. Last year the Agora Grand announced the opening of its Tower Honeymoon Suite, the only suite in New England located in a church steeple.
"Andrew came to Lewiston several years ago from Washington, D.C., to buy this church," said Jan Barrett, Lewiston native and current innkeeper at the neighboring Inn at the Agora. "He had no ties here and he could have done what he pleased with the building. I'm very pleased that he decided to turn it into an elegant event space and is now offering it back to the nonprofit community at no charge."
Gabrielle Russell, a community-minded Lewiston resident who spearheaded the Grow L-A campaign to save Bates Mill Number 5 from demolition, also served as lead architect on the Agora Grand renovation. "This is great news for L/A and Maine in general. I encourage local nonprofits to contact Andrew about hosting their events."
Some nonprofit and arts organizations that have already hosted events at reduced rates at the Agora Grand include the YWCA, Community Concepts, BuildMaine, Emerge Film Festival, St. Mary's Nutrition Center, and the Patrick Dempsey Center Champions of Hope Celebration.
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SOURCE Agora Grand Event Center