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City's plan to purchase the Chateau Theatre passes its first hurdle

City's plan to purchase the Chateau Theatre passes its first hurdle

(THE MED CITY BEAT) - The Rochester City Council voted unanimously Monday night to pursue the acquisition of the historic Chateau Theatre.

The city and the current owner of the building, Jane Lieberman, are expected to sign a purchase agreement within the next week. The city will then have five days to give Lieberman a deposit of $65,000.

Once both steps are completed, a 60-day due diligence period will begin. In that time, the city is expected to make a formal request to the Destination Medical Center Corporation Board that the project be included in the city's $128 million contribution to the initiative. 

The DMCC board has not yet given a final determination on whether the purchase will count toward the city's $128 million share in DMC costs. However, the DMCC attorney recently indicated that the idea has support from board members.

City leaders first announced their intentions to purchase the 88-year-old building at a news conference last month. The city 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 Chateau was constructed in 1927 as a live-performance and movie house, according to Minnesota Historical Society records. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

The potential use of the building has yet to be determined. The top responses in a recent poll conducted by the Med City Beat were (in order): live performances, a children's museum and a movie theater.

The city's contribution to the Chateau will likely be paid for by a 0.25 percent sales tax increase, which was tentatively approved by the council last month, according to Council Member Michael Wojcik. 

Wojcik expects the building will require $2 to $4 million in repairs before it is "ready for primetime."


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(Cover photo: The Med City Beat)

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