City of Rochester plans to buy historic Chateau Theatre for $6M


The future of the historic Chateau Theatre in downtown Rochester has been in question since Barnes & Noble moved out at the end of last year. Now the city is taking a major step to preserve the 88-year-old building.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to preserve this iconic element of Rochester’s history and invest in our future,” Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede said in a news release. “Thanks to the generosity of Mayo Clinic, we are now able to meet the purchase price of $6 million.”

The city plans to purchase the building using $5.5 million of internal borrowing, along with a $500,000 gift from the Mayo Clinic.

The money the city is putting forward to purchase the theater may eventually be credited as part of the its contribution to the Destination Medical Center (DMC) project – a $6 billion initiative to transform Rochester into an international destination for medical care, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports.

City Council President Randy Staver told the Rochester Post Bulletin city officials have been talking about buying the Chateau Theatre since Barnes & Noble announced it would close, noting they think it could play a key role in the DMC project.

The city council is scheduled to discuss the purchase agreement at its April 6 meeting, a news release notes. If it gets approved, there will be a 60-day public review period where the community will be able to give suggestions about what the theater should be used for.

The Chateau Theatre, known for its Art Deco design, is one of the city's most iconic and beloved landmarks. It originally opened in 1927 and was the first building in Rochester to have air conditioning, the release says.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, and most recently housed a Barnes & Noble, until it closed Dec. 31, 2014.

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