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Five groups submit proposals to breathe life back into the Chateau Theatre

Five groups submit proposals to breathe life back into the Chateau Theatre

Rochester has received a mix of proposals for the initial re-use of the Chateau Theatre.

On Saturday, the city released the names of five entities that put forward plans to take over operations and management of the theater for the next three to five years. The applicants had until Friday to submit paperwork.

The five applicants are:

  • Entourage Events Group, a Minneapolis-based event management company that specializes in weddings, conferences and corporate gatherings. Entourage had previously been part of a proposal to build a music and entertainment venue inside Rochester’s historic Armory. That bid, however, went to the Castle Community project.

  • Exhibits Development Group, a St. Paul organization that brings “high quality traveling exhibitions of art, science, history and popular culture” to various venues. You can view their current exhibits here.

  • Arcades are Awesome!, a proposal from Rochester residents Ross Henderson, Breanna Holtan and Paul Sims that would turn the Chateau into a family-friendly arcade.

  • Threshold Arts LLC, a nonprofit responsible for the arts programming inside the Castle Community project.

  • Arts Trust Minnesota, a nonprofit created specifically for the purpose of activating the Chateau. The proposal — which includes over 20 community groups — would “serve as a central nucleus” for a wide variety of arts and cultural organizations.

The city did not release any additional details about the proposals. In a news release Saturday morning, a city spokesperson said they are currently working with the Destination Medical Center EDA to review the applications. They plan to bring forward a review process — that includes a community engagement component — in the coming weeks.

“We are pleased with the number of proposals received,” said Deputy City Administrator Aaron Parrish. “It is always encouraging to see a mix of local applicants with those outside of the area. We look forward to moving this process forward in a thoughtful and timely manner.”

The city council and DMC Corporation Board have already approved $1.1 million in funding for renovations to the building. That work is expected to be completed by mid-June. It is unclear whether any of the applicants are requesting additional city subsidies for management of the building.

The theater, now more than 90 years old, has sat empty since early 2015 when Barnes and Nobles moved out of the space. The city later purchased the property with the intentions of restoring the venue. The goal now is to activate the space in the interim while long-term plans are decided.

Story updated 2.17.19

Cover photo: The Chateau as a bookstore in 2012 / Adam Burke 

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