Chateau Theater options ready for City Council review

The departments of Rochester Civic Music, Parks and Recreation and Public Library have combined their efforts to come up with a plan to operate the city-owned venue, including a mix of community activities, as well as private rentals.

The proposal provides for 180 days of events per year, of which 39% are community-based and 27% scheduled by municipal services.

READ ALSO: Rochester and Chateau Theater Operator End Contract

Threshold Arts, the non-profit organization that played a role in the renovation of the old armory building, is also presenting a plan to operate the building in the hopes of providing a multi-purpose community space focused on arts and culture.

The proposed model would include daily activity with retail space and a gallery, as well as a movie theater operated in conjunction with Gray Duck Theater. Other entertainment events would be scheduled with community partners

A third proposal came from Steve Barlow and Dan Van Hook, owner of Spectrum Pro Audio. They plan to use the space for a variety of events, as well as display local arts on a daily basis.

The proposal would include a daily pass for access, with a variety of scheduled events, including weekly art exhibitions, shows and seminars, as well as catering and chill out offerings.

Rochester City Council will hear presentations on the three proposals at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

A fourth proposal answered the call for a new operator with an offer to purchase the Château, which the city bought in 2016 for $ 6 million.

City administrator Alison Zelms said the proposal was not considered for Monday’s presentation because it fell short of expectations of the city’s request to replace the exhibition development group as a building operator.

“Usually we make final proposals available, and it has been requested that if they are not selected to go forward, they remain anonymous,” Zelms told the board on Monday in response to a question of whether all four options would be considered.

The three plans reviewed on Monday come with varying expectations for the city’s initial investment.

The lowest expectations come from Barlow and Van Hook, who are applying for a loan of $ 50,000 to start their operations, with the intention of repaying the funds within three years.

“The Chateau Theater does not need major upgrades to be dynamic,” the duo wrote in their proposal to the city.

The city’s three-department pitch calls for an investment of $ 650,000 in the city, with the funds being used for audio, lighting, projection and staging equipment, as well as seating.

The Threshold Arts proposal identifies a requested asset of $ 106,190 for items, including tables and chairs, as well as equipment to create a stage equipped for sound and lighting needs. The claims also include unspecified expenses for capital improvements, such as building a cafe area, improving visibility on the skyway, and improving toilets.

The plans also foresee the city’s potential for additional income.

The city team’s proposal suggests that the operations would be self-sustaining, with any additional income being used to create a Chateau business fund for the city-owned building.

Threshold Arts’ plan calls for the city to share 50 percent of rental income after expenses are covered.

Barlow and Van Hook said profit sharing could be discussed if they are selected to operate the site.

On Monday, council will be asked to provide city administration with direction for next steps, which could include a preferred proposal or ask staff to come back with a recommendation at a future meeting.

The council could also request further research.

Presentations and discussions will begin Monday at 3:30 pm in the council chamber of the city-county government center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The meeting will also be available live on, as well as on Spectrum channel 180 or 188 of the cable and Metronet channel 80.


Meetings scheduled for the week of October 25 include:


• Study session of the City Council, 3:30 p.m. on Monday. The meeting will be webcast live at and be available on Spectrum 180 or 188 cable channel and Metronet channel 80.

• Régie des services publics, Tuesday 4 pm. Access information is available on

• Heritage Preservation Commission, Tuesday 5 pm. Access information for the online meeting is available at

• Musical advice, Tuesday at 7 pm. Access information for the online meeting is available at

• Town Planning and Zoning Commission, Wednesday 6 pm. Access information for the online meeting is available at

• Police Public Service Commission, Thursday at 3 pm. Access information is available on

Olmsted County

• Rochester-Olmsted Council of Governments, Wednesday at noon in Boardroom 186 at 2122 Campus Drive SE.

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