ST. CLOUD -- Live music returns this weekend to the historic Pioneer Place on Fifth in downtown St. Cloud. The theater has been dark for several months as it underwent a major renovation.

View from the balcony seats, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

In the theater itself, you'll notice improved acoustics, balconies with nine stools and drink rails on each side, bigger better seats, and the technical booth has been moved into the theater. Seating capacity has increased from 185 to 212. The old technical booth is now a VIP skybox that seats up to 12 people.

New upstairs bar at Pioneer Place on Fifth, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

Behind the theater seats is a brand new upstairs bar where an unused storage room used to be. The bar seats up to 40 people. New more spacious men's and women's bathrooms are also on the second level, and "yes" men will still be able to use the working "King" urinal.

The "King" in the men's restroom, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
Old doors were salvaged for the individual stalls in the ladies restroom, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

The building is also now handicap accessible with a ramp installed on the side of the building and a new elevator inside.

Co-owner Ray Herrington says the Pioneer Place remodel is about 80 percent done going into this weekend, he says they will be adding some tiling and flooring in the coming weeks.

New bar in the Pioneer Place on Fifth, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

Once the Pioneer Place is done, work will begin on remodeling the Veranda Lounge on the main floor. Plans for that space include an expanded bar area and moving the bathrooms to a different location.

We really think that having an entertainment hub downtown is really important to the survival of downtown.  We're seeing a lot of other restaurants and businesses open and we want to be in the forefront of making sure there's places to go, and entertainment, and things for people to do who come downtown.

The first shows in the newly renovated Pioneer Place are Justin Ploof and the Throwbacks singing the music of Carol King. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Herrington and his business partners bought the building in August of last year, the remodel started in June.

The building dates back to 1913 when it opened as an Elks Club.

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