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building creativity

Study brief + background ✲  Rochester’s Chateau Theatre opened in 1927. An atmospheric theater, the building’s interior was designed to look like a 15th century French village, complete with a starry night sky overhead. Originally, the 1,500-seat venue was used for vaudeville performances, live theatre, and film and, at one point, even hosted a 3,500 pound rhino in a production of Tarzan. Like most facilities of its kind, the Chateau’s live performances eventually gave way to film. ✲  Following years of operation as a film house, the Chateau closed in 1983 with a final screening of Star Wars. After that, an attempt was made by a private developer to purchase the theater. The attempt, however, was unsuccessful, and the Chateau sat empty for a decade afterwards. ✲  In 1993, Barnes and Noble purchased the facility, opening it as a bookstore in 1994. It remained as such until 2014. ✲  In 2015, the City of Rochester committed to buying the building for $6 million. Mayo Clinic contributed $500,000 to the purchase. ✲  Now, as the City plans for the future of Rochester and works towards the development of the Destination Medical Center, Webb Management Services has been hired to assess the feasibility of rehabilitating the Chateau Theatre. To complete this brief we have: ✲  Interviewed a cross-section of cultural, political, and community leaders; ✲  Toured local and regional cultural facilities; ✲  Studied the size and characteristics of the market area; ✲  Developed and evaluated detailed inventories of performance facilities, film facilities, and meeting and event spaces; ✲  Assessed internal and external demand for performance space; and, ✲  Identified the potential benefits and impacts that an animated Chateau Theatre could have on the city and the region. ✲  Our partners on this project are Miller Dunwiddie Architecture and Schuler Shook Theatre Planning + Lighting Design, both based in Minneapolis.

Webb Management Services Inc.

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Chateau Theatre Reuse Study  
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