First Avenue has announced it is buying yet another Twin Cities entertainment venue, entering into a deal to purchase the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul from Minnesota Public Radio.
The 1,050-capacity Fitz, the oldest theater in St. Paul that for years served as the recording location for "A Prairie Home Companion" and staged many more MPR productions, will become the latest venue added to First Avenue's growing empire.
Just last month, First Avenue bought the 650-capacity Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis.
First Avenue also owns the 250-capacity 7th St. Entry, the 350-capacity Turf Club in St. Paul, its iconic 1,550-capacity First Avenue Mainroom, and co-operates the 2,500-capacity Palace Theater in St. Paul.
In its announcement on Twitter, First Avenue said: "Our goal is to bring together people with diverse interests and backgrounds, part of that is expanding the First Avenue family to include other venues throughout the Twin Cities."
The Fitzgerald was built in 1910 and was originally called the Sam S. Shubert Theater.
MPR bought the venue in 1980, and in a statement CEO Jon McTaggart said MPR would continue to use the space for plenty of its events.
"We were excited to find that First Avenue leaders share our vision to serve many more people," it said. "We trust that First Avenue – an organization with deep roots in this community – will continue to expand the events and performances at the Fitz, while responsibly maintaining the historic facility itself.
"We’ve been partners with First Avenue many times and know that the Fitz will be in good hands."