Public events return to Chateau

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For the first time since the city of Rochester announced its $6 million purchase of the historic downtown Chateau Theatre, the iconic building will open its doors to a public event.

This morning, Rochester Civic Theatre Director Gregory Stavrou stood in Peace Plaza, on the spot where the city first announced its landmark purchase, to announce plans to host the organization's annual Encore Gala at the Chateau Theatre on Oct. 10.

"The Rochester Civic Theatre is delighted to share the exciting news that on Oct.10 we will be reactivating this incredible historic landmark, which is so dear to so many in our community, for a one-night only event celebrating and benefiting the Rochester Civic Theatre," Stavrou said.

Tickets to the Encore Gala go on sale Aug. 3, Stavrous said.

It will be the first time the 88-year-old theater is used as a public event space, following its previous uses as a theater, a movie house and, from 1994 to 2014, a Barnes & Noble Bookstore.


The Encore Gala drew 150 attendees last year. This year, guests will enjoy the notable architecture that landed the Chateau on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Stavrou sought the approval of city officials to use the space, and the city consented with the permission of the building's current owner, Jane Lieberman. The city has until November to close the purchase, a six-month window set by the city's initial investments of $65,000 and $1 million to be triggered by the Rochester City Council's purchase authorization.

Prior to the Oct. 10 gala, Mayo Clinic will host a private event in the Chateau Theatre on Oct. 1.

Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede said the city has had a number of requests for use of the theater. City officials agreed to grant the two uses to Mayo Clinic and Rochester Civic Theatre based on a few points, primarily Mayo Clinic's partnership in purchasing the Chateau and the Civic Theatre's close ties to the city.

Mayo Clinic contributed $500,000 to the city's $6 million purchase price of the building, giving the clinic a sense of part ownership in the Chateau, Brede said. The Rochester Civic Theatre is itself a pseudo-department of the city, Brede added.

The future use of the Chateau has not yet been decided, though the city is in the elementary stages of forming a group to determine that use, Brede said. All major interests, including arts groups, historic preservationists, city and Destination Medical Center Corp., are expected to be included in the group.

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