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Chateau purchase 'predicated' on DMC approval

The skyway entrance to the Chateau Theatre building remains closed. The former Barnes & Noble store closed on Jan. 2.

The city of Rochester's purchase of the historic Chateau Theatr e could hinge on its approval as a Destination Medical Center project.

The Rochester City Council on Monday evening gave its approval to a $6 million purchase agreement for the downtown theater. With the agreement, the city effectively entered a 60-day due diligence period for further inspection of the building and consideration of the city's funding options.

During this period, the city council will seek direction from the Destination Medical Center Corp . board of directors to ensure the project could be funded with DMC money and counted toward the city's $128 million commitment.

For at least one council member, approval of the Chateau as a DMC project is a condition for final approval of the purchase.

"My support is entirely predicated on this being adopted by DMC and being part of the city's $128 million contributed toward DMC," Council Member Michael Wojcik said.


Wojcik cautioned the council against following a "path of irrational exuberance" where funding was not accounted for.

"The real issue here is currently we have zero dollars budgeted for this," Wojcik said.

The $6 million purchase price might only be the starting point of costs associated with the theater purchase, Wojcik added. He estimated another $2 million to $4 million would be needed for restorations, as well as a trust system for operations.

"I want some concrete definition from DMC and some clear statements of support for doing what's necessary to turn this into the community asset that it should be," Wojcik said.

As a DMC project, the theater purchase could be funded from the city's recently approved 0.25 percent sales tax increase, or through the city's other DMC funding measures, Council President Randy Staver has said.

The council will have other matters to address in the next 60 days, as well, Council Member Ed Hruska said.

"The next 60 days, 60-plus days, I'm looking at condition verification, potential uses, funding operations — all of those things are things I think we're going to have to tackle," he said.

The city's purchase agreement with the Chateau owners should be signed by both parties within a week, City Attorney Terry Adkins said. The 60-day period is initiated when the city issues a non-refundable $65,000 deposit to the owner, required within five days of signing the agreement.


The council approved the purchase agreement by a unanimous decision, and to a scattering of applause in the audience.

The council agreed to seek input from the DMC Corp. board at the earliest opportunity. The board meets next on April 30.

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