Some of California’s most popular venues were never intended to host events. Thanks to a trend for imaginative reuse, former banks, utility companies and other historic structures are getting new life as places for celebration.
A prime example of the Mid-Century Modern architectural style Palm Springs is known for, TheBank opened in 1955 as the Coachella Valley Savings and Loan.
Recently repurposed as a venue, TheBank accommodates a wide range of events, including cocktail parties, sit-down dinners, musical performances, movie premieres, photo shoots, car shows and product launches. Up to 400 guests can be accommodated for a reception.
Built as an Elk’s Lodge in 1925 and later converted to a hotel that eventually fell into disrepair, The MacArthur in Downtown Los Angeles has been reborn as an opulent venue for special events. The Gothic Revival space accommodates groups from 50 to 2,500.
Located in downtown Santa Ana in Orange County, The Estate on Second was built in 1923 to house the Southern Counties Gas Company before transitioning to offices, a restaurant and other uses. The building is operated by Jay’s Catering, a long-time local caterer who converted it into event space and oversees food and beverage for the events. There are indoor and outdoor spaces, including a terrace with city views and a patio.
A grand colonnaded temple of finance built in the Beaux-Arts style, the Bently Reserve was the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank for much of the 20th century. Updated with cutting-edge technology and green practices that make it a LEED-certified venue, the 93-year-old building has spacious event halls and boardrooms with expansive windows overlooking San Francisco’s Financial District and walls adorned with works from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Earlier this year, the venue introduced a Healthy Meetings Program that includes standing desks, cold-press juices, yoga balls and other amenities.
Built in 1888 as one of the palatial private homes along Mansion Row in San Rafael, the Falkirk Cultural Center is now a venue for arts workshops, poetry readings and a wide assortment of private events. With its lawn and wraparound veranda, Falkirk accommodates up to 125 guests for outdoor receptions. The interior accommodates up to 60 guests for sit-down dining or lecture events.