Couple restores former Elks Lodge in downtown Niles

Published: Feb. 22, 2019 at 2:18 PM EST
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Donny and Melanie Kennedy both grew up in Niles and have a deep love for their community.

"We both are from this town, we both see a lot of potential in this town and we got our thinking caps on," Donny said.

When the Kennedys stumbled upon the old Elks Temple in downtown Niles, something about it caught their eye.

"I think I'm overly optimistic about a lot of things and thought it would take some work but undersold the amount that was here," Donny said with a laugh.

The couple had some experience in renovation thanks to Melanie's hair salon, which the couple remodeled together in her downtown space.

Once Donny knew the old Elks Lodge was something worth considering for their next project, he quickly called his wife.

"I had maybe 10 minutes in between clients and he said run up here," Melanie said. "I ran through the building and thought it had a lot of work. That was pretty much the end of the story until he said, 'I made an offer while you were at work and it was accepted.'"

Their adventure quickly began.

"It was a lot of work and more cost than we expected, but somehow, some way, made it all come together," Donny said.

He headed up the construction, focusing on restoring the building to what it looked like in 1928.

The Grand LV was not only full of Niles treasures but family ties the Kennedys didn't even know existed.

"My mom was from Edwardsburg and my dad was from Niles," Melanie said. "They were married in Niles and lived in Niles forever. Come to find out they had their wedding reception here and didn't know that until we got involved with the property. That helps feel like the purpose that we have here was made for us to be doing."

Melanie named the venue after beloved parents, putting their initials together and forming the Grand LV. A space built on family.

The Kennedy's have big dreams for the Grand LV, including renovating the top floor for bigger gatherings and potentially live music. Weddings have already taken place in the beautiful ballroom, and they've already booked weddings for next year.