Dear Members of the Rochester City Council and Mayor Norton,
As community members interested in the future of the Chateau Theatre, we respectfully request that the governing body adopt the Chateau Theatre Reuse Task Force's 2017 recommendations for rehabilitation and reuse of this vital historic and cultural resource. In addition, we request that the Task Force be called upon to update and synthesize these recommendations in response to current costs and conditions. We believe that its members would be gratified and honored to see their work through to completion.
The Task Force's work began in 2015, after the DMCC approved the Chateau rehabilitation as the DMC's first public infrastructure project and the Council approved a $6 million purchase -- $500,00 of which was contributed by Mayo Clinic. Over the next year, it considered community input on potential reuse options and worked with a team of well-qualified consultants to formulate responsible redevelopment and reuse plans.
Based on this work, it advanced a recommendation that the building be rehabilitated for use as a multipurpose performing arts center existing within the confines of the present building and beneath the adjacent alleyway. Construction costs were estimated at approximately $23 million, to be funded by the City DMC 0.25% sales tax and State DMC funds. The Task Force determined that Rochester Civic Music would provide efficient management of programming and operations, and would maximize integration with local arts organizations.
On November 21, 2016, this proposal was presented to the Committee of the Whole (COW), which recommended a staff review of such additional funding sources as state and federal historic rehabilitation and New Market tax credits. As well, the COW requested that staff examine the business plan and explore space sharing options with owners of adjoining buildings. As a result, the Council elected to pursue a two-phased approach that would allow for immediate high-priority repairs and three to five years of interim use before full rehabilitation and long-term reuse.
With planning for the Heart of the City district further evolved and the City's contract for interim use terminated, now is the time for our city to return the Chateau Theatre to the enjoyment of Mayo Clinic visitors, Rochester residents, and the regional community. Fully-refurbished and restored to use as a multi purpose performing arts center, the Chateau will truly become the heart of the city, providing great value to the city and immeasurable benefit to Mayo Clinic visitors, Rochester residents, and the regional community for the next hundred years.
The letter was written in consultation with, and co-signed by, former Mayor Ardell Brede, former City Administrator Stevan Kvenvold, and Rochester business owner John Kruesel. Bisel is a principal with Blue Planet Museum Consulting, LLC. All four were part of the Chateau Theatre Reuse Task Force that made the 2017 recommendations.