A $21.3 million plan to expand the Chateau Theatre is headed to the Rochester City Council later this month for approval.
Called Option E, the plan by Miller Dunwiddie Architecture calls for expanding the theater east into the alley and excavating below the existing footprint of the building to add a lower level. Denita Lemmon, a Miller Dunwiddie associate principal, presented the proposed plan to the Chateau Theatre Re-use Task Force on Tuesday.
The alley expansion, Lemmon said, is to enlarge the theater’s lobby space. The entrance and lobby would be on the south side of the building, facing the Peace Plaza, with theater seats facing a stage on the north end of the theater.
With Green River Soda and popcorn in hand, Rochester community members got their first look at the Chateau Theatre’s future last week.
The building, which was purchased by the City of Rochester last year, will be transformed into a multi-use performing arts space. Exactly what the building’s interior will look like is still in the planning stages.
But architects from Miller Dunwiddie Architecture, the Minneapolis firm selected by the Chateau Theatre Taskforce to reimagine the building, said that the Chateau will continue to be a focal point of downtown Rochester and the Heart of the City.
A consulting firm’s commitment to public engagement was the difference maker Tuesday as the city of Rochester’s Chateau Theatre Re-Use Task Force decided between the final two firms to lead the restoration and re-use project at the downtown theater.
“Community involvement doesn’t have to be ‘open the doors and see who shows up,'” said John Mecum, a principal at Minneapolis-based Miller Dunwiddie Architecture.
The public engagement process for re-use of the Chateau Theatre could involve public events, performances and focused meetings with performing arts organizations, said Denita Lemmon, an associate principal at Miller Dunwiddie.