City signs off on Threshold Arts contract to manage Chateau for three years

(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester City Council approved an agreement for Threshold Arts to operate the Chateau Theater.

The arts organization received a nod on Jan. 19 of this year, but contract negotiations remained in the air until Monday, May 16, when the council unanimously approved a three-year contract.

According to the Monday city council agenda, previous conversations between Threshold Arts and the City concerned the possible conflict between Threshold Arts’ commitments to the Chateau and the previous agreement with the Castle Community, LLC.

Threshold Arts has not occupied the Castle building since Sept. 2020, when the Castle building’s owners rented the space to Echo Church.

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According to the operating agreement, Threshold Arts agreed to terms for release from their contract with the Castle owners, as well as increased staffing to support additional programming at the Chateau.

According to the operating agreement, the city-owned building will be open to the public four or more days a week.

Threshold Arts will not pay rent to the City for use of the Chateau Theatre, but will share profits from rental events.

The City will continue to pay for repairs and capital improvement, as well as some utilities.

At the end of three years, both the City and Threshold Arts can agree to renew the contract. A buy-out option allows the city to end the contract early if the City finds a developer for long-term Chateau use.

Other notes from the contract:

  • The contract and city council meeting referred to Threshold Arts as a 501c3 nonprofit. Threshold Arts is still working with the IRS to have its nonprofit status reinstated after failing to file requisite paperwork for several years, per
  • The city will receive 10 percent of rental fees from events held in the Chateau.
  • The City specified that Threshold may use the building for retail, gallery space, rental events, and other uses the City approves in writing.
  • While Threshold Arts must open the building to the public a minimum of four days a week on average, the operators are expected to hold public OR private activities a minimum of six days a week, on average.
  • The operating agreement lays out an increasing number of hours per year that Threshold Arts is expected to provide at a discount for organizations that support BIPOC and other minority populations, as well as an increasing number of large-scale, ticketed events, private events, and non-ticketed “activation events” per year.
  • The City of Rochester retains the right to enter the premises and schedule its own programming if Threshold Arts fails to meet the activation goals for three months or more. The City must also approve any agreement with renters to occupy the space with Threshold Arts for more than two weeks, on a regular basis, or on a set weekly/monthly schedule.