There’s something wonderful happening in Poughkeepsie right now.
In the north side of the city, developments roll in faster than waves on the Hudson. They’re not big-box, cookie-cutter designs, either. Instead, Poughkeepsie’s constructions are defined by history, innovation, and, above all, community.
Need a for instance? Just look the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, which turned an abandoned center of industry into a hub for arts and culture. The Trolley Barn followed suit nearby, with its renovation of the longstanding trolley house an accomplishment that needs to be seen to be believed. Coming up, The Hive, a mixed-use food hall, coworking center, and grocery store, will overhaul the tired edifices at 33 and 35 Academy Street into a live-work-play destination that’s a hop and skip away from the train station.
A concert at Revel 32
And that’s just the beginning. Coming this autumn, Queen City welcomes a new event venue to complement the region’s burgeoning artistic scene. Dubbed Revel 32°, the space is the latest pièce de résistance from Hudson Valley couple Jim and Gina Sullivan, the same masterminds who opened 40 Cannon down the road. For those who haven’t been, 40 Cannon is an incredible study in adaptive reuse. The property, which was originally King’s Court Hotel in 1915, now operates as a luxurious apartment building, with businesses like King’s Court Brewing Co., 1915 Wine Cellar, Gallery 40, and Café 40 & Co. housed on the ground floor.
In fact, it was their involvement with 40 Cannon that drew the Sullivans to the tired edifice at 32 Cannon.
“We’ve always admired the building and, with its proximity to 40 Cannon, we were definitely interested,” says Gina Sullivan. “After walking through it, we were blown away. We knew we had to be the ones to transform it and let it become another piece in the revitalization of the city.”
Admittedly, the building is a stunner. Constructed in 1845 as a church, it was expanded by architect Arnaut Cannon into a Masonic Temple in 1895. It remained as such until the Sullivans purchased it in February 2019.
Revel 32 at night
From the start, the couple knew the venue was destined to be a performance space. With its central room, dubbed Cannon Hall, stage, and eye-catching balcony, it combines the historic design of Hudson Valley theaters with the intimate vibe of New York City’s Bowery Ballroom. To get up and running, however, it needed more than a little TLC.
“There are so many historical and architectural features that are stunning,” Gina enthuses. “It’s a challenge incorporating and balancing new, modern elements that complement what was built in the 1800s. We are very happy with the balance we’ve been able to strike.”
The rooftop lounge at Revel 32
Now close to completion, Revel 32° will be a mixed-use performance venue in downtown Poughkeepsie. The Sullivans are currently hard at work to polish off two of the largest rooms so they’re available to rent, with a goal of making the building handicap accessible in the future. Also on the horizon, they hope to complete exterior work on the façade, finalize six other spaces within the building, and add a rooftop area.
Revel 32° opens to the public officially on November 23. In line with the grandeur of the building, the debut event will be a glamorous one, with Reveal: A Dress to Impress Party featuring 12-piece soul band Remember Jones and a VIP champagne experience on the balcony. The opening is a partnership with the Bardavon, which reached out after hearing the buzz about the development.
“If the Bardavon offers to help you open a venue and produce a show, you’re pretty fortunate,” Gina says. “We’ve always been fans of theirs and love their commitment to the community. We couldn’t be happier with the way this is evolving.”
Outside Revel 32
After the November party breaks the venue in, Revel 32° will begin its life as a multifaceted performance space in the Hudson Valley. More than just a music hall, it will be open for everything from intimate dinner parties and grand weddings to full-blown concerts. With stained glass and original light fixtures, the Grand Ballroom is a striking setting for larger events, while Cannon Hall’s substantial stage and balcony area make it ideal for concerts and award shows.
Upon entering from the street, all attendees pass through the 1845 Gathering Room, which sets a striking scene with a beautiful staircase, fireplace, and bar area. Revel 32° also houses a catering kitchen, thus enabling party planners to customize dining experiences for every occasion. Coming in 2020, the rooftop area will allow guests to take in the breathtaking Poughkeepsie skyline.
“The definition of Revel, ‘lively and noisy enjoyment,’ fits the feeling we want guests to experience,” Gina explains. If she and Jim have their way, that revelry will define each and every happening at the venue, from the Black Excellence Community Gala on October 26 to future collaborations with the Bardavon and the Hudson Valley community.
“We want Revel 32° to offer different experiences each time you walk through the doors,” she says.
32 Cannon St, Poughkeepsie