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Plans for the Chateau Theatre to be announced on Monday (updated)

Plans for the Chateau Theatre to be announced on Monday (updated)

(THE MED CITY BEAT) - An announcement regarding the future of the historic Chateau Theatre in downtown Rochester will be made on Monday.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will make a statement on the "proposed purchase" of the Chateau at a new conferences scheduled for noon at Peace Plaza.

Photo: Tina Smith

Smith, who is also the chair of the Destination Medical Center Corporation, will be flanked by city and Mayo Clinic officials for the announcement, according to a news release from Gov. Mark Dayton's office.

The Chataeu has been empty since the end of last year, when Barnes and Nobles vacated the building after about 15 years. The building is valued at about $3 million, according to Olmsted County property records.

Mayor Ardell Brede told the Med City Beat in late February that some ideas he had heard proposed were attaching a hotel to the theater or converting the building into a restaurant. He said there have also been discussions on the DMC Corp. Board about bringing arts back to the building.

"[The Chateau] to me is a jewel that we really need to take care of," said Brede, who represents the city on the DMC Corp. Board. "Somehow, it's got to be in the mix of whatever DMC is going to bring to us."

The Chateau is located within the "Heart of the City," one of six districts included in the first full draft of the DMC development plan. The district is widely considered to be, along with "Discovery Square," a top priority as the initiative moves forward.

The current version of the DMC plan calls for the Chateau to have an integral role in the future of Peace Plaza. Planners want to enhance the main downtown intersection — First Street and First Avenue — with new attractions and features such as an ice-skating rink and a glass pavilion.

Graphic: Rendering / DMC Development Plan

"First and First would also provide a beautiful grand dining terrace that spans First Avenue connected to the Chateau Theatre making the theater a key part of the overall design and cultural experiences offered in the space," notes the plan.

The Chateau was constructed in 1927 as a live-performance and movie house, according to Minnesota Historical Society records. It was one of the most elaborate theaters built in Rochester in the early 20th century, notes the Rochester Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Notable dates:

Click here to download the DMC plan's executive summary.


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Cover photo: File / Oliver Hammond / Creative Commons)

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