City of Rochester intends to purchase the historic Chateau Theatre (updated)
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - The City of Rochester intends to purchase the historic Chateau Theatre in downtown Rochester.
The announcement was made Monday afternoon at a news conference outside the theater in Peace Plaza. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith was joined by Mayor Ardell Brede, City Council President Randy Staver and Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy.
"Thanks to the foresight of the city and the Mayo Clinic, this iconic building will be part of the community forever more," said Smith.
There are no specific plans yet for the 88-year-old building. Its future use will be decided after a 60-day public comment period, which will begin after the city council approves the purchase agreement on April 6.
The Chataeu has been empty since the end of last year, when Barnes and Nobles vacated the building after about 15 years.
"This is truly a great day for the city of Rochester," said Staver.
Rochester plans to contribute $5.5 million in public funding toward the purchase, while the Mayo Clinic has agreed to pitch in a gift of $500,000. The city's ownership of the property would be similar to its arrangements with the art and senior centers.
The city hopes the costs will count toward its $128 million portion of the Destination Medical Center initiative, said Staver.
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.
"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.
(Cover photo: The Med City Beat)