Case Studies

Shubert Theater Relocation, Minneapolis, MN


The project team, headed by International Chimney Corporation and their in-house engineering staff, included Stubbs Building Movers, Inc. and Expert House Movers, Inc. (move subcontractors) and Mr. Peter Friesen (move consultant). The task was to pick up the entire Shubert Theater in one piece and move it to a new site approximately 1,100 feet away on the next city block, during a harsh Minnesota winter in downtown Minneapolis.

The move system consisted of a grid of steel beams installed underneath the theater, and a massive interior truss system designed to control deflection. Once the steel was in place the Theater was lifted with unified hydraulics to its moving height. Then 70 rubber-tired dollies (each the size of a small car) were installed. A three-zone hydraulic system was used to keep the building on the same plane as it was being moved to its new home.

The move involved multiple rotations of the building to circumnavigate obstacles along the move path and when the Theater reached its new home it sat at a 90 degree angle from its original orientation.

The relocation was complicated by some of the Theater's features: the large open space of the auditorium meant that the load of the structure was primarily on its outer walls; the ornate and aging terra cotta on the front of the building had become very brittle; and previous alterations to the structure included the removal of the mid section of one balcony to install a projection booth, leaving that balcony largely unsupported.

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