Owner seeks to tear down Royal Oak Main Art, build housing

March 25, 2022, 11:54 AM


In Royal Oak, a clash is brewing between a preservationist group hoping to save the city's shuttered indie theatre and the owner of the site, who wants to tear it down and build something more profitable.

Crain's first reported A.F. Jonna Development's plan for a five-story residential and retail building at the site:

City Planner Doug Hedges said Thursday afternoon the developer is expected to appear before the Planning Commission April 12 to present plans for a new 71-foot building, which would include 9,200 square feet of commercial space — half for a restaurant, half for a retailer — plus first-floor parking. In addition, there would be about 31,000 square feet of office space on the second floor and the third through fifth floors would include 54 new residential units.

The Free Press, meanwhile, reports the preservationist group, Friends of the Main Art, says it has been in talks with the developer to include a small cinema that would screen indie and international films that the current plan does not reflect.

The theatre operated from 1941 until its closure last June by parent company Landmark. The chain shut a number of U.S. locations following a year of crushing Covid restrictions.

A Save the Main rally is reportedly planned for April 9.

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business

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