Royal Oak Planning Commission backs plan to demolish beloved Main Art Theatre
The Royal Oak Planning Commission recommended demolishing the Main Art Theatre in favor of a five-story mixed-use building in a 4-2 vote Tuesday night.
The public meeting included a presentation of the proposed building plan and roughly one and a half hours of public comments, mostly from those in support of the theater.
Main Art Theatre, a staple of downtown Royal Oak since 1941 and located at the corner of North Main Street and 11 Mile, has been closed since April 2021 when Landmark Theatres, which operated the Main Art, announced the theater was closing for the foreseeable future.
Friends of the Main Art Theatre formed roughly 10 months ago with the purpose to preserve the theater. The group has held fundraisers and marches to rally support for the iconic building.
Last Saturday, nearly nearly 200 people gathered outside the theater to rally for its preservation in light of the proposed demolition plans put forth by the building’s owner, A.F. Jonna Management & Development Co.
Dennis G. Cowan, the attorney representing North Main Square LLC, the building developers, spoke of the plan for a five-story mixed-use building with retail, office and residential components.
He also cast doubt on the viability of an independent movie theater operating out of the Main Art.
“The entire movie industry is in somewhat of an upset right now,” Cowan said. “All of us here know you can get almost any movie you want at home. We know that there still is a market, but with respect to this particular building, that is not the case any longer. And their numbers were going down dramatically, even before COVID. Subsequently, Landmark decided to pull out.”
Members of the Friends of the Main Art Theatre spoke at the meeting in support of revitalizing the theater.
Jason Krzysiak, president of the group in support of the theater, said, “I would ask that the committee today consider the outpouring of support for this theater, and ask that you either table the plans before you tonight until all stakeholders can meet and plan a win-win situation, or an outright denial.”
The Planning Commission recommendation now heads to the Royal Oak City Commission for review.
Posted By: Detroit Free Press on April 13, 2022. For more information, please click here to read the source article.
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