Three proposals for the historic Rochester Castle theater



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

The historic downtown theater sat empty for more than a year after the first organization to rent the site split from the city due to the economic fallout caused by the pandemic.

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

The city’s call for proposals requested this information from applicants:

1. Activation: how often is the space open? Does the team have a clear vision for the program?
2. Public use: is the space available for public use?
3. Diversity, equity and inclusion: is space inclusive for all? are there specific attempts in the proposal to advance this goal?
4. Financial burden: Does the proposal reduce the financial burden on the City?
5. Management team: Does the team have experience in the day-to-day operations of a facility?

One of the three proposals essentially calls for a place managed by the city.

A partnership between the public library, the Parks and Recreation Department and Civic Music is proposing a plan that would be operated by what is known as the City of Rochester Community Enrichment Team (CET). His proposal calls for “a sustainable plan to activate the Chateau Theater 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.

A Threshold Arts proposal includes the same requirements. Threshold was heavily involved in the transformation of the old town armory building into a castle. Its plan includes entertainment, retail and community meeting spaces, as well as private events.

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

All three proposals call for rent-free operations.

According to a note to the city council:
At the end of this session, staff would like to be guided on the way forward, which could include:
1. Staff present operator recommendation to future city council meeting based on feedback to today’s meeting
2. The Board selects one of the teams presenting today and directs the staff to work on a agree with them
3. Continue to search for an operator

Here are the links to the proposals:
Barlow / Van hook

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