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City of Rochester buys historic theater with help from Mayo

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Rochester will buy the Chateau Theatre.
Rochester and Mayo Clinic officials gathered on Monday, March 16, 2015 to announce the city's plan to buy the historic Chateau Theatre in downtown Rochester for $6 million, including a $500,000 contribution from Mayo Clinic. From left to right: Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy; Mayo Clinic's DMC Manager of Public Affairs Jamie Rothe; Rochester City Council President Randy Staver; Lt. Governor Tina Smith; and Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede.
Elizabeth Baier | MPR News

The city of Rochester has closed on the $6 million purchase of the historic Chateau Theatre.

The theater purchase is considered a Destination Medical Center project, which allows the expense to count toward the city's $128 million contribution for public infrastructure costs. The Mayo Clinic paid $500,000 of the deal.

Rochester City Council President Randy Staver said it's still unclear what the building's long-term use and financial model will be.

"There's a distinct desire to use the structure for arts and cultural sorts of activities but any definition beyond that is still open," he said.

The theater opened in 1927 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Barnes and Noble vacated the site a year ago after operating a store there for 15 years.