The Palace Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., has sat empty for decades, but thanks to a $15 million facelift from the city and a long-term lease with First Avenue nightclub and Jam Productions in Chicago to run it, the joint is jumping again.  

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Palace Theatre St. Paul - The Jayhawks sell out The Palace Theatre in St. Paul, Minn., March 11 in one of the first shows marking the 101-year-old building’s reopening.

Originally a vaudeville house and then a movie theatre, the Palace is finding new life. Its series of grand opening shows with Atmosphere, the Jayhawks and Phantogram March 10-12 sold out.

A calendar of bookings including Bryan Ferry, Belle and Sebastian, Jason Isbell, and Regina Spektor ensures more to come.

“This is a joint venture between Jam and First Avenue to operate, manage and book it,” Jam CEO Jerry Mickelson told Pollstar. “What we found is that there’s a void in the market for a good 2,800-capacity, general admission room.

“The city of St. Paul had this theater sitting there that was closed for 40 years and decided it was a great redevelopment opportunity for downtown. It’s located two blocks from the arena, six blocks from the new minor league ballpark, and it creates a lot of synergy for all of these other businesses,” Mickelson said. T

he Palace fills a gap in the Twin Cities area at nearly double the size of First Avenue, with some 725 reupholstered balcony seats and standing room for more than 2,000 more on its four tiers of main floor space for a total capacity of 2,800.

“Our opening weekend went great,” First Avenue GM Nathan Kranz told Pollstar. “It proved that having a venue of this size and layout is something that the Twin Cities market has needed for a long time. I think concertgoers are extremely excited about the new spot.

“As for the partnership with Jam, it feels natural because I’ve been working with them for 18 years and we’ve been partnering with them on shows the entire time,” Kranz added. “So they are good friends of ours, and it feels like family. It’s the next extension of our relationship that we have a venue to call our own in the Twin Cities.”

The Palace Theatre is expected to book about 75 shows per year, drawing some 150,000 to downtown St. Paul.