St. Paul is opening the Palace Theatre's doors for a "sneak peek" next week.

The city is completing a nearly $15.7 million renovation of the 100-year-old downtown building, which has been closed since 1977. The venue is not officially open yet, but Mayor Chris Coleman's office announced Thursday they will be giving people a preview of the space at 17 W. 7th Place on Dec. 16.

The two-hour event is open to the public and will start at 11:30 a.m. A musical performance by a surprise guest is planned, along with hot cocoa and self-guided tours of the space, including backstage. Project experts will be on hand to answer questions.

First Avenue and Jam Productions will run the venue, which has a 2,800-person capacity. They expect to have the first official show at the Palace Theatre in early March, said Nate Kranz, general manager at First Avenue.

"We have a lot to do between now and March, but it's exciting to see it all come to fruition," Kranz said.

Construction crews need to fine tune mechanical systems, add acoustic treatments and do some minor aesthetics work before it opens, according to a news release from Coleman's office.

"I'm incredibly thankful for every worker who touched this project," Coleman said in a statement. "After 40 years of vacancy, this 100-year-old building in the heart of downtown will be contributing to the economic vitality of our city for decades to come."