Photo provided by the city of Rochester.

The city of Rochester want to buy an historic downtown theater, pegging the purchase of the Chateau to a long-term remake of the city centered around the Mayo Clinic.

The $6 million buy, announced Monday at a 12 noon press conference, needs City Council approval. The city would borrow $5.5 million and use a $500,000 Mayo gift to pay for it.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to preserve this iconic element of Rochester's history and invest in our future," said Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede in a statement. Supporters of the idea characterized the purchase and preservation of the theater as a jumpstart to the Destination Medical Center initiative, a long-term plan to make Rochester a world leader for medical research and health care. 

No designated purpose exists for the theater; a 60-day public comment period would follow city council approval to purchase it. 

Built in 1927 for $400,000, the Art Deco-designed theater first hosted plays, opera and vaudeville acts before becoming a movie house. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, closing three years later. It sat vacant for 11 years before Barnes & Noble moved in.

The bookstore closed at the end of last year.