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The Next Step: What's the best use for the Chateau Theatre?

The Next Step: What's the best use for the Chateau Theatre?

It has been more than two years since the City of Rochester announced its intentions to purchase the Chateau Theatre. 

Yet today, the building remains empty.

What should we do with the historic downtown building? What would it take to follow through with the proposed $21-23 million renovation? Are there alternatives? 

We posed these questions to a few individuals following developments closely.

Jenna Bowman leads the Rochester Downtown Alliance, an organization that provides popular programming like Thursdays on First & Third and SocialICE. Bowman also serves on the Chateau Reuse Task Force, chaired by Mayor Ardell Brede (the mayor declined our invitation to participate in this forum).

Nick Campion is a techie by trade who brings a pragmatic, data-driven approach to the Rochester City Council. 

Abe Sauer — also known as the "Coffee Trike Guy" — is the proprietor behind Old Abe Coffee. His writings have been published in numerous publications, including Esquire and The Atlantic.

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Chateau reuse can be a catalyst for more activity downtown

"The Chateau Theatre is a wonderful example of a space that could play a key role in providing diverse options for entertainment and community gatherings."

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Design the Chateau for families

"We should give the Chateau Theatre new life not by recreating the past but by selecting a use that speaks to the future, something that gives families and children something engaging downtown."

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Who is the Chateau for?

"Asking about better uses and skepticism toward the viability of a $23 million poorly targeted theater is derided as opposition to the arts. It is not."

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The Next Step is a new series where we ask local leaders and community members to weigh in on the issues of the day. More than a diagnosis of a problem, we are seeking out potential solutions and pushing the conversation forward.

Join the discussion on Facebook.

Dennis Davey: Flexibility key to Chateau's future success

Dennis Davey: Flexibility key to Chateau's future success

Jenna Bowman: Chateau reuse can be a catalyst for more activity downtown

Jenna Bowman: Chateau reuse can be a catalyst for more activity downtown