Convention Center to name theater after Michael Nutter

Now that Mayor Michael Nutter's name has departed from the city's political theater, Michael A. Nutter is making a name for himself in performance theater.

Pennsylvania Convention Center officials announced plans Wednesday to name the facility's new multipurpose theater after the former mayor of Philadelphia, whose second term ended in 2015.

The center repurposed Room 114, a former lecture hall at the southeast corner of 13th and Race Streets, to make way for the Michael A. Nutter Theatre.

The 600-seat venue was designed to host film festivals, movie premieres and screenings, as well as corporate meetings, concerts and comedy shows, according to a news release.

John McNichol, president and CEO of the Convention Center, said the renovation is an attempt to "Reimagine the space and make it more marketable." The $400,000 upgrade, paid for with funds generated from the city's hotel tax, took seven months to complete.

Nutter was the top choice for the honor because he has been the center's, and the city's, "No. 1 cheerleader" and "No. 1 salesman" throughout his political career, McNichol said.

He mentioned how Nutter, who served as chairman of the center's board of directors from 2003 to 2007, brought Pope Francis to the city in the fall and helped attract the Democratic National Convention, which kicks off in July. He also credited Nutter as a key party in the fundraising campaign for the Convention Center's $789 million expansion, which opened in 2011.

"Nobody [that] I can remember did as much for hospitality in this city as Michael Nutter did," McNichol said.

The theater dedication will take place May 25 at 5 p.m., according to a news release.

trowan@philly.com

@TommyRowan