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What would you do with Chateau?

December 21, 2018

Wanted: An operator/manager for Rochester’s historic Chateau Theatre. Start date: July.

The city is seeking proposals for the job, which will cover its operation and management for the next three to five years. Make your pitch in writing by Feb. 15. To see the request for proposals, visit tinyurl.com/ydydwhlx.

While the city will retain ownership of the theater, the request for proposals is being compared to the process used to find a new use for the Armory building, which had housed the Rochester Senior Citizen Center and is now privately owned by the Castle Community.

“Given the success of the (request for proposals) process for the Armory building, we hope to receive similarly creative and innovative submissions for the Chateau Theatre,” Parrish said. “This is truly a unique opportunity for an operator.”

The Armory process had some stops and starts, with the Rochester City Council rejecting all submitted proposals at one point, which lead to a second round.

In the second round, five proposals were received and reviewed before the city opted to sell the building to the Castle Community, which is creating a multi-use space with a recently opened restaurant and plans for a bookstore, coffee shop, artist space and community space.

For the Chateau effort, the city has outlined operational priorities for proposals. They include:

• Manage the day-to-day building operations of the Chateau Theatre in a cost-effective and high-quality manner;

• Work strategically to achieve a high level of activation of the building for events not to exceed 390 occupants;

• Create a vibrant entertainment, education, and cultural hub in the Heart of the City;

• Develop and implement strategies to engage with existing community groups and attach new partners and events;

• Support the city’s investment in the Chateau Theatre through exercising the highest standard of maintenance and preservation of the building.

Meanwhile, the city continues work on $1.1 million in initial renovations, which will allow interim use of the theater as plans continue for additional renovations for long-term uses. The proposals sought by the city would start operations in the interim period.

Interior construction work was slated to begin this month, and roofing efforts are scheduled for the spring. According to the city’s request for proposals, the building is expected to be ready for use in mid-July.

A three-year management agreement is being sought, with the possibility of extending it for two more years,

The Chateau Theatre was built in 1927, and the city purchased it in 2015 for $6 million, using a $500,000 contribution from Mayo Clinic.

With its location in the heart of downtown Rochester, the theater building has been part of Destination Medical Center efforts around Peace Plaza, and its potential opening is sought to add vibrancy to the area.

“The Chateau Theatre is a community treasure and has always been at the core of our DMC Heart of the City planning,” said Lisa Clarke, executive director of the DMC Economic Development Agency.