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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) -  The future of Rochester’s Chateau Theater will be discussed Monday by the Rochester City Council.

The historic downtown theater has sat empty for more than a year after the first organization to lease the site parted ways with the city because of the economic fallout caused by the pandemic.

New tenants were sought for the city-owned building and three proposals will be presented to the council.

The request for proposals from the city sought this information from applicants:

1. Activation: how often is the space open? Does the team have a clear program vision?
2. Public Utilization: is the space available for public use?
3. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Does the space feel inclusive for all; are there specific attempts in the proposal to further this goal?
4. Financial Burden: Does the proposal reduce the financial burden on the City?
5. Leadership Team: Does the team have experience in day to day operations of a facility

One of the three proposals essentially calls for a city-operated venue.

A partnership of the public library, Parks and Recreation Dept, and Civic Music is pitching a plan that would be operated by what’s being called The City of Rochester’s Community Enrichment Team (CET). Its proposal calls for “a sustainable plan to activate Chateau Theatre as a gathering space to celebrate, engage, and connect the community.” It would use existing staff and 3 new positions to operate the site. The proposal would also require the city to make improvements and help cover operating costs.

city of Rochester


city of Rochester

A proposal from Threshold Arts includes the same requirements. Threshold was heavily involved in the transformation of the city’s former Armory building into the Castle. Its plan includes entertainment, retail, and community meeting space, and private events.

city of Rochester


city of Rochester

The third proposal is from local businessmen Steve Barlow and Dan Van Hook.. Their plan would target Mayo Clinic and other visitors and the Rochester-area community.

city of Rochester
city of Rochester

All three proposals call for rent-free operations.

According to a memo to the city council:
At the end of this session, staff would like direction on the path forward, which could include:
1. Staff brings an operator recommendation to a future City Council meeting based on feedback at today's meeting
2. Council selects one of the teams presenting today and directs staff to work on an operating agreement with them
3. Continue looking for an operator

Here are links to the proposals:
Barlow/Van Hook

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