New Varsity Theater owner plans to return live music

In Music
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The Varsity Theater in Minneapolis may soon rock again after a new owner says it plans to return music shows to the Dinkytown landmark.

The Varsity, which hasn’t had a live music gig yet this year, was purchased by Hong Kong-based real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners for a little more than $2.5 million, according to an electronic certificate of real estate value made available this week.

The building was bought from Jason McLean, who also operates the nearby Loring Pasta Bar.

Gaw Capital hopes to soon reopen the venue and host shows and concerts, said Dan Lee, senior vice president of investments for Gaw Capital and its U.S. subsidiary Downtown Properties.

“We anticipate it will reopen sometime within the next few months,” Lee said in an e-mail. “We intend to keep it as a music venue and host some amazing shows.”

Lee said the company plans to make upgrades to the building but declined to give further details.

Lee said the company intends to continue to purchase and develop music venues across the country.

The Varsity, located on SE. 4th Street near 13th Avenue, can accommodate 962 concertgoers. It has seen its range of events including live theater, film screenings and music concerts. Lately, it appears to host mostly private events and weddings.

The Varsity and Loring Pasta Bar have been recently since allegations surfaced against McLean that he reportedly sexually abused minors while he was a member of the local Children’s Theatre Company in the 1980s.

McLean couldn’t be reached for comment.

Four lawsuits against McLean have been filed. According to Hennepin County court records, a hearing is scheduled Monday.

Mike Mulrooney, owner of Blarney Pub and Grill in Dinkytown and recent past president of Dinkytown Business Alliance, said he was ecstatic about the sale.

“It’s … fantastic,” he said. “Get it open and drive people to the area.”

Staff writer Jon Bream contributed to this report.

Twitter: @nicolenorfleet



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