First Lady venue expanding

Published 7:21 pm Thursday, January 17, 2013

Men take advantage of a sunny day earlier this month to work on additions and renovations to The First Lady events venue in downtown Suffolk. The owners say they are adding onto the building so it can accommodate larger functions.

Construction is happening at a furious pace on the building at the corner of West Washington and Wellons streets.

The 1907 Queen Anne Victorian home functions as The First Lady events venue, which opened in 2008 after being a funeral home and, before that, a private residence. It is being expanded and partially renovated to make it suitable for larger events.

“We reached the point where we had to have more space,” said Jennifer Seebo, who owns the venue with Mickey Boyette.

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The project broke ground Oct. 6 and already is taking shape. The large ballroom is rising on the east side of the house and will feature a 17-foot ceiling, marble floors, a large stained-glass window, gilded mirrors, chandeliers and a staircase with a side door that opens onto the bridal suite.

A gazebo also is in the works, with an attached deck that can seat up to 150 guests, Seebo said. The wedding party will be framed with the planned new city hall building behind them, she said.

The gazebo represents a return to the home’s original state, Seebo said. The former gazebo, on the opposite side of the house, was torn down when the city widened Wellons Street.

“We’re not building a gazebo on,” she said. “We’re putting it back.”

The original windows on the east side of the building will again be on the exterior of the building, Seebo said. The kitchen will be twice as big, and the upstairs of the original home is being renovated for a bigger bridal suite.

Construction is expected to be completed by late spring, Seebo said. She’s already writing contracts for events as early as May.

“It’s coming together,” she said. “It changes every day.”