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City of Rochester intends to buy historic downtown theater as part of DMC enhancements

Rochester’s City Council will consider buying the old theater, which most recently had been a Barnes & Noble bookstore.

The Rochester City Council will consider buying the 88-year-old Chateau Theater for $6 million as part of the Destination Medical Center vision.

The downtown theater building had most recently housed a Barnes & Noble bookstore, but that closed at the end of last year.

If approved, the city would use $5.5 million in public funds along with a $500,000 gift from the Mayo Clinic to pay for the downtown building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The council will discuss the proposal on April 6.

The purchase is being considered as part of the DMC intiative, which calls for public and private spending of $6 billion over 20 years to retain the city’s position as a world-renowned medical hub.

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Lt. Gov. Tina Smith is chair of the Destination Medical Center Corporation, and said in a statement about the planned theater purchase:

“The Chateau Theater is one of Rochester’s most iconic and beloved landmarks. Its preservation is a great way to jumpstart the Destination Medical Center initiative. The proposed purchase of the Chateau Theater, along with other projects outlined in the DMC plan, provides a bold vision of how downtown Rochester can build on its own great strengths to become a global center for research, health care, and wellness.”

The proposal calls for the city to pay for the building with $5.5 million in internal borrowing, along with the $500,000 Mayo gift.

Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy said of the clinic’s contribution:

“Our gift demonstrates Mayo’s commitment to this community while fulfilling the vision for one of Destination Medical Center’s first areas of focus, its ‘Heart of the City’ district.”