An Open Forum

Town Hall’s Temporary Certificate of Occupancy and How History Comes Full Circle

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History has a funny way of repeating itself. In 1918, our building opened its doors to the public…sort of. You see, the church completed construction on the downstairs level several years before the iconic domed space (which would become our Great Hall) could be finished. The community didn’t let the partial building stop them from congregating, and they came together amidst the construction.

The Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist (now, Town Hall), 1923. (via the original Town Crier)

A century later, we find ourselves in a similar position—although thankfully our wait will only be a month as opposed to years. After 18 months of renovation, the Forum at Town Hall (formerly the Downstairs space) is opening a little ahead of schedule. We’ve received a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (or TCO) for the lower level. The room is still in its rawest form—the furniture isn’t all in and the bells and whistles like café and bar service will come later, but the space is there, and we can all feel it calling for conversations and community. Simply put: we’re not going to wait for the lobby level and Great Hall to finish before we start hosting programs in the new Forum.

In order to test the venue’s capabilities—and to help Town Hall feel like home again—we’re moving several of our April events back into our building. A few additional moved events will be announced over the coming week, but if you’re interested in getting a preview of this incredible space, or just returning to Town Hall, be sure to pick up a ticket to Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (4/12) or Cherríe Moraga (4/24) and keep an eye on our calendar for other events back in the space!

It should be emphasized: the rest of the building is still under construction. This means we’re waiting to install some final features of the Forum, and that there are plenty of areas of the building that will still be closed off to the public until our renovation is completed in late May. We hope you’ll share our enthusiasm as the building reopens a little at a time, and that our ability to be together again in Town Hall will supercede the temporary walls blocking off the almost (but not quite!) finished lobby level and Great Hall!

Of course, more than just Town Hall is under construction—our full block is in the midst of being developed. While the plaza and Ovation towers are being built, the Forum is accessible via our new at-grade West Entrance, reachable from the loading zone on Seneca street.

We hope to see you at one of these first events back in the Forum, and that you’ll join us again when the full building reopens in late May for our soft launch this summer!

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