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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A trial is getting underway this week in Olmsted County Court with jury selection in the case involving a lawsuit against the City of Rochester concerning the Chateau Theater.

A St. Paul firm previously hired to operate the historic theater in downtown Rochester filed the lawsuit last year, claiming it had incurred damages while trying to open and operate the building. Court documents filed by Exhibits Development Group place most of the blame on the city.

Kim David, Townsquare Media
Kim David, Townsquare Media
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The company entered into an operating agreement with Rochester in August 2019. According to the lawsuit, EDG claims the city “conspicuously left out and in fact hid, numerous issues that the Chateau was experiencing” and those problems ultimately led to its inability to successfully operate the building. The lawsuit says the city “agreed to deliver possession of the Chateau and perform all capital improvements within 60 days of signing the Operating Agreement.” EDG contends the opening “was delayed several times due to the City’s failures to meet its obligations under the Operating Agreement.”

EDG Lawsuit - Olmsted County Court
EDG Lawsuit - Olmsted County Court
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After a shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chateau was reopened in June 2020 but was hampered by the Peace Plaza renovation project, which led to another closure. The city terminated its agreement with EDG in June 2021.

The City of Rochester entered into a three-year agreement with Threshold Arts to operate the Chateau Theater last summer. Since then, the organization says the theater has hosted a number of events that have attracted over 20,000 visitors. The city has also launched projects to renovate and enlarge the nearly 100-year-old building’s restrooms and improve the facility's sound system.

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