A STORIED PROPERTY ON THE NORTH SHORE IS REBORN AS AN UPSCALE EVENT SPACE
BY ERIK SCHONING PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
Anyone who lives on the North Shore is familiar with the Pavilion on the Terrace. For years, the Greek revival mansion sat unused and abandoned at the corner of Richmond Terrace and Westervelt Avenue, an unfortunate culmination of an almost 200 year history. At least, that was the story until real estate attorney Kecia Weaver found the property. Together with her team, Weaver has revived the property and returned it to its former glory as a high end event venue.
In the late aughts, Weaver was in the process of renovating her own home, another historical landmark on Staten Island. She had driven by the Pavilion property countless times, and four years later, when her home renovation project was complete, she pounced on the new opportunity. Weaver purchased the property in 2013 and began a massive undertaking that would include a near total overhaul of the space.
“It was literally falling apart,” Weaver said. “The porch had fallen into the basement. Part of the roof had fallen in. Paint was peeling very badly. It was not a nice picture.”
The Pavilion property was built in 1835. In its time it has been an upscale home, a hotel, and a headquarters for the Knights of Columbus. From 1965 to 2005 it was a catering hall, and it was that legacy Weaver sought to revive. Her vision was to create a premier space for weddings and special events along Staten Island’s North Shore. To bring the Pavilion which Weaver dubbed “the old lady” back to her former glory, Weaver had to navigate a sea of red tape that proved even more arduous than the renovation itself.
“I had to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission on board,” she said. “I had to get the community board behind it. They had rezoned the neighborhood, so I had to get it petitioned back into a commercial property.
It took about three years to get everyone to allow me to turn this back into a catering hall. Once everybody was on board, I could finally start construction.”
In March 2021, the new Pavilion on the Terrace opened its doors. From day one, the venue was totally booked out. (A silver lining of the delayed opening: Weaver had spent years building buzz.) Brides and grooms found a brand new, totally renovated Pavilion, preserving the historical gravity of the space while offering a modern take on luxury. Chandeliers abound, floor tiles gleam, luxurious drapes line the hall’s windows. Since its launch, the Pavilion has hosted every type of event under the sun, from New Year’s Eve galas to gospel brunches to Father’s Day barbecues.
For Weaver, the transition from real estate attorney to event planner has been a seamless one. In any business, client satisfaction is the goal, and running the Pavilion has presented an opportunity for Weaver and her team to bring clients’ visions to life. Every event is one of a kind.
“Every day brings a new vision: how are we going to change this room into a casino? Or how are we going to make this into a Cinderella ball?” Weaver said. “We don’t just throw tablecloth on the table and give you a place setting. We change the whole room. We’ll bring in a Cinderella carriage, and we’ll have it take up the whole center space. We really go all out on the decorations. So it’s like the whole space becomes the event.”
Executing a client’s needs has almost become a competition among Weaver and her team. Often they will create four or five display tables to present to clients, and let them decide which is closest to their vision. It’s friendly competition, but it demonstrates a willingness to let the customer decide and to offer a range of options. Milestones are major precisely because they are so rare; you want to feel your big day is as close to perfect as it can be. By giving clients options every step of the way, from initial design meetings to catering prep to assembling a precise timetable, the team at the Pavilion offer a tailored experience.
“We take care of everything,” Weaver said. “We are pretty much a one-stop shop. All you have to do is show up and just be prepared to party and enjoy your event.”
Because of the Pavilion’s history as a catering hall, Weaver has met clients who had gotten married there 50 years ago and want to renew their vows, or whose parents celebrated a major event at the Pavilion and want to honor them with a milestone event of their own. Today the hall’s ten-foot bar is the only interior reminder of the building’s fabled past. The original bar, installed when the property was first converted into a catering hall in the ‘60s, stretched all the way to the door. (“That’s a lot of drinking,” Weaver said, laughing.) Today the bar is sized down to a more modest ten feet, a subtle reminder of the building’s history and persistence through the years.
Full-time event planner was never something Weaver saw for herself. Yet today she is almost fully retired from law and beginning the next phase of her career. She has been excited to see the community embrace the Pavilion on the Terrace; the venue is approaching two years in business with no sign of slowing down. Every weekend, drivers along Richmond Terrace can see people gathered on the Pavilion, laughing and mingling among the ornate fountain, the fiercely green shrubs, and the magnificent statues. It’s a landmark, but a living one, continuing to make history through anniversaries, birthdays, proms, weddings, and sweet sixteens. And among the revelers you’ll see Weaver and her team, running around behind the scenes, making sure everything goes off without a hitch.
“I like the architecture of things,” Weaver said. “I like putting things together. And so long as you enjoy what you do, it’s not really work, is it?”
Pavilion on the Terrace
404 Richmond Terrace / 718.219.4407 / pavilionontheterrace.com