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University of Minnesota Extension

Potential economic impact of the Batcher Block Opera House

Key findings for communities

  • Rehabilitation construction: The City of Staples Economic Development Authority (EDA) estimates rehabilitation construction and building outfitting will directly cost $17 million. Based on that figure, rehabilitation of the Batcher Block Opera House will generate an estimated $21.8 million of economic activity in the region.
    • Of this, $6.8 million will be labor income.
    • The construction will support a projected 140 jobs. 
  • Annual operations: The Batcher Block Opera House, based on its current business plan, will generate an estimated $1.7 million in economic impact annually.
    • This includes $567,400 in labor income.
    • The Opera House will also support 139 jobs in the region.
    • Visitors will spend an estimated $540,913 annually in the region, mostly on lodging, dining out, and transportation.

About this report

The Batcher Block Opera House building, located in downtown Staples, Minnesota, has served as a community gathering space since 1907. The Opera House, located on the second floor, provided entertainment space. The building itself had a variety of uses, eventually becoming the home of Batcher’s Department Store. Shifting retail and commercial trends, however, have left the building underutilized in recent years.

The City of Staples is collaborating with multiple partners to rehabilitate the building and return it to its original purpose as a community gathering space and entertainment venue. As city officials work through this process, they want to better understand the potential economic impact on the community. Thus, University of Minnesota Extension was hired to conduct an economic impact analysis.

Extension’s analysis builds on a business plan developed by McClure, a Midwest engineering, surveying, and planning firm. The plan’s estimates provided the basis for this analysis. Extension did not evaluate the plan’s feasibility.

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Brigid Tuck, Extension senior economic impact analyst

Reviewed in 2020

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