The Castle was built in 1915 and served as Rochester Minnesota’s Armory until 1978 when the City of Rochester renovated the building into a three-story complex to house the Rochester Senior Citizen Center. In late 2016, the Senior Center moved to a new facility (125 LIVE). In May of 2017, Castle Community, LLC submitted a proposal to the City of Rochester to purchase the building and invest in its renovation to become an arts and culture community center. Castle Community, LLC was selected to purchase the building in July 2017, took ownership in December 2017, and began construction in July 2018.
The Castle will reopen to the public in November of 2018 and includes a restaurant – Cameo at the Castle, an independent bookstore, an art retail store, a coffee shop, and will be the home of a new arts nonprofit – Threshold Arts – which will manage an indoor public commons, artist studio spaces, a visual art gallery, a community conference room, and a 4,500 sq/ft event hall which will host concerts, weddings, banquets, community gatherings, and other programming.
Although plans have evolved , here you will find the basics of our proposal to transform the historic Armory Building into a bustling arts and cultural community center.
RESTAURANT & Bar
Cameo is a new restaurant for Rochester, serving creative fresh cuisine. The owner is a local (born and raised), professionally trained chef. This will be a unique and welcome addition to Downtown Rochester restaurant scene. The food is always fresh and locally sourced. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features a full bar, private dining, and banquet rooms. Cameo will also serve the other Castle Community tenants’ needs for food and beverage offerings from catering, to coffee drinks, sandwiches etc...
BOOKSTORE, ARTIST Studios, indoor public commons
This space will be the gem of the Castle. The second floor will serve as public/private creative community space nestled between individual artist studios (available for rent through Threshold Arts), shared creative workspace, a traditional photography darkroom, a community bookstore that includes vinyl records, and an art store. The entire floor will serve as a community resource to encourage and expose a vibrant arts scene and an affordable gathering and workspace. The public will enjoy a space shared by artists creating work (both in their studios and in the public indoor park), access to wireless internet, space to meet, collaborate, snack, read, play, etc... An in-house coffee shop, Queen City Coffee, will offer coffee, fresh cold-press juices, and grab-and-go food options from Cameo.
Event & Performance Space, Community Room, Art Gallery
The third floor has the capacity to function as a banquet or conference facility, entertainment venue (hosting lectures, musicians, film screenings, and other performing arts). This space will serve local musicians, cultural initiatives, large gatherings, business meetings, and other special events. The Threshold Arts management staff will work with local cultural organizations and artists reserve to activate the space with programs that serve the interests of a wide variety of audiences. The Threshold staff will also manage private rentals and secure adequate funding for community programs. Cameo will support any food and beverage needs for events in this space, offering full-service catering, bar service with a modified food menu, and box lunch options for groups of all sizes.