Palace Theatre gets royal treatment for grand re-opening

- There's a buzz in the air in downtown St. Paul as a century old vaudeville house gets new life as a music venue.

After years of planning, the Palace Theatre is reopening as a 2,800 seat music venue.

The city spent about $15 million renovating the deteriorating building to help restore this part of downtown to its former glory.

"We've got a lot of pieces in place. A lot of restaurants, but this is kind of the missing link - tie things in, bring a lot more people to this corner," St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said.

The Palace opened in 1916 as a vaudeville house where acts like the Marx Brothers and George Burns took the stage.

Then it became a movie theater until it closed in the 1970s.

Since the late 90's, it's been the mayor's mission to light up the marquee once again.

"I'm thrilled. Someone said 'You are just pushing this place because you want a place you can go see music' and I said 'yes and if I want to come see music other people do too and they are going to come to St. Paul to see it.' So we're very excited about it and I think its going to be great for the city," Coleman said.

At Great Waters Brewing Company across the mall, employees hope for good "before" and "after" show business because of their new neighbor.

"There's been a lot of development in downtown St. Paul, and it's nice to see this part of downtown getting some attention," manager Eric Olson said. "Everybody is excited. There is a lot of buzz downtown and we're poised to do a good job."

The Palace has booked about 25 acts.

Mayor Coleman believes it will bring 100,000 music lovers downtown every year.

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