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Hennepin Theatre Trust will partner with Jack Link’s on event space

Updated: December 14, 2017 - 2:08 pm

Lounge will be open to theater patrons before and after shows

The Hennepin Theatre Trust will partner with Jack Link’s Protein Snacks on a lounge and event space on the corner of its building at 9th & Hennepin downtown.

The deal includes the naming rights to the lounge, which will host theater patrons before and after shows for drinks and snacks, including some inspired by the Wisconsin-based jerky company.

Trust President and CEO Mark Nerenhausen said the lounge will be available for private parties, the trust’s own artistic programming and as a lobby space before performances.

“It’ll have a very public presence,” he said. “It’ll allow us to interact with people before the shows, subscribers [and] donors.”

This is the trust’s second naming rights deal in the building following a similar agreement with PNC Bank on another ground-floor lounge. That space is located behind the Jack Link’s lounge, which will act as a separate event space.

Nerenhausen declined to say how much either agreement is worth.

The partners have not finalized a name or design for the lounge. The building, because it was the Solera restaurant, already has several catering kitchens. Nerenhausen said they’ve applied for a liquor license for the building and are meeting with caterers to operate at the lounges.

The trust expects the lounge to be up and running next year before it begins its next theater season.

The lounge isn’t the company’s first partnership with the downtown arts organization, which operates the historic Orpheum, Pantages and State theaters on Hennepin Avenue. Jack Link’s was a sponsor of the trust’s 5 to 10 on Hennepin initiative, which brings public programming to the thoroughfare.

“This is really the outgrowth of a long commitment they have to the city, to downtown and specifically to Hennepin,” Nerenhausen said. “That’s what made us really happy with this.”

Jack Link’s is in the process of moving into a new corporate office in Mayo Clinic Square, located just a few blocks from the trust’s office building. It recently opened a Wild Side retail store in the Target Center that offers various protein snacks and apparel, gifts and other items related to its mascot, Sasquatch.

“We are thrilled to support organizations like the Hennepin Theatre Trust and their efforts to help downtown flourish through arts and entertainment,” said Chief Marketing Officer Tom “TD” Dixon in a statement. “We’re proud to be part of the downtown Minneapolis community and look forward to seeing theater-goers feed their wild sides.”

Nerenhausen said they are not in talks with other potential partners, but there could be a number of other naming rights and philanthropic opportunities for the building’s third floor and rooftop.