OWATONNA — The State Theater building in Owatonna will soon be nothing more than a memory.
The Owatonna City Council awarded the demolition contract for the State Theater to Wencl Construction during Tuesday's city council meeting. The bid was awarded by a unanimous vote.
The city had been working for several years to obtain the title to the building before finally getting the deed from Carmike Cinemas, the theater's former owners, in early July.
Efforts had been made to refurbish or renovate the State Theater, most recently known as Cameo 3 Theaters, but it was determined that trying to save the space was not a cost-effective endeavor.
The demolition will cost about $90,000, but the city will only have to pay about $15,000 of that sum. As part of the arrangement to obtain the theater, the city was also able to negotiate a $75,000 gift from Camike to go toward funding the building's demolition. The demolition will take out everything from the alley to the south of the theater to Flooring Frenzy's building on the corner of Cedar Avenue and Pearl Street.
Owatonna's Economic Development Authority will be responsible for funding the remainder of the demolition, said Community Development Director Troy Klecker.
"The EDA is funding the cost of the progress, so the extra $15,000 will come from the EDA," Klecker said. "The goal is to have a reuse of that property, to have it redeveloped and have a new building go on there."
Wencl came in with a bid of $85,500. An additional $4,400 will be needed to put grass in the space to serve as what City Administrator Kris Busse deemed a "temporary green space."
The city sent out requests for quotations for the cost of the demolition on Aug. 1. Four bids were submitted and Wencl was selected after the company submitted the lowest bid.
Before the city can move forward with the demolition, a contract must be signed with Wencl. Once that happens, the building must be demolished within 60 days. Klecker said they want to minimize the effect the demolition has on the downtown area as much as possible.
"We don't want them to start on day one and finish on day 60," Klecker said. "It's going to be a disruption to the downtown, and we want to minimize that as much as possible. We would like to keep it to a two-week period if we can."
Klecker said he didn't expect the demolition to cause any sustained street diversions, but that the alley to the south of the building as well as the parking area in front of the building would be blocked off during construction.
No one has expressed interest in the space yet, but Klecker said the city hasn't aggressively advertised the property either.
"We haven't really marketed it yet. Once we get it down and over the winter we'll probably put together a request for proposals or figure out some sort of marketing strategy for that because we do want to get a new building in there as soon as possible," Klecker said.
Demolition is expected to be completed by Oct. 22. Klecker said the process of getting to the demolition was a long one and he feels good to have a resolution for the building.
"The ultimate goal was to get it down and it's been a long process," Klecker said. "To come to a conclusion, although it's demolition and not a reuse of it, it's the next step forward. This is a big hurdle to actually get it down."
Reach reporter Al Strain at 444-2376 or follow him on Twitter.com@OPPalstrain