Shubert Theater/Cowles Center


Weighing in at nearly 6 million pounds, moving the historic Shubert Theater was no easy feat. Brian’s hard work and attention to detail made it possible. He managed the complexities of working with structural engineers, city officials, financing representatives, historians, specialty moving companies, and the unexpected events that come with moving a 100-year old structure. The end result? A magnificently renovated theater at a new location. We could not have done it without Brian’s expertise.
– Wendy Holmes, Artspace Senior Vice President, Consulting and New Partnerships.


This project was truly one for the record books. The City of Minneapolis and Artspace joined forces in 1997 to transfer ownership and subsequently relocate the historic Shubert Theater. The 1910 building had a storied life, bearing witness to vaudeville acts, robust years as a movie theater, and then a steady slide into disrepair. Having stood vacant for nearly 20 years, city officials and Artpace determined the best course of action to preserve the landmark structure was to move it.

Intensive scrutiny of the structure determined it was fit for travel. Its destination was a mere two blocks away, where the Shubert would sit adjacent to the Artspace-owned Hennepin Center for the Arts. Months of preparation, and 14 days of actually moving the 5.8 million pound structure brought success, and a Guinness Book of World Records listing as the “heaviest building ever moved on rubber tires.”

Today, the Hennepin Center and the Shubert have been transformed into the Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts. The Center has two theaters, 10 dance studios, administrative space for nearly 20 nonprofit organizations, and an award-winning distance learning program.

Location:Minneapolis, MN
Total Development Cost:$42 million
Total Area:158,955 sf
Financing:State of Minnesota, City of Minneapolis, Historic Tax Credits, Foundations and Private Contributions
Building Weight:5.8 million pounds
Building Preparation:6 months
Actual Relocation:12 days
Distance Traveled:2 city blocks
Relocation Cost:$15 million