Sunday, March 6, 2011

Landmark's no comment on Emagine multiplex

I finally heard back from Landmark Theatres in my quest to find out the chain's reaction to Emagine Entertainment's multiplex being built behind Landmark's Royal Oak Main Art Theatre (see two previous posts). But really to no avail. "We have no comment regarding Emagine," said Cyra Polizzi, Landmark's Detroit regional publicist.....Emagine, for its part, thinks the 10-screen theatre will be healthy for the Main since it will attract more filmgoers to the corner of 11 Mile Road and Main Street.....I also tried to find out if the Main Theatre building is still owned by a Chicago-based development company which, over the past decade, was looking at moving the Main to a different location. But I could get no comment from Joseph Freed & Associates either. A Detroit News article from 2005 may help shed some light on real estate issues surrounding the Main and the theatre's future. Here's the story:
 Tuesday, September 27, 2005 Main Art Theatre running out of time to find new home Developer searching for options for the art house that will be razed for lofts in a few years. By Maureen Feighan / The Detroit News ROYAL OAK -- The Main Art Theatre, a beloved showcase of independent and art films in Metro Detroit, is in need of a new home. The 1940s theater, run by Landmark Theatres but in a building owned by Chicago-based developer Joseph Freed and Associates LLC, is scheduled for demolition to make way for part of a $120 million loft and retail project called Main North at East 11 Mile and Main. Plans call for replacing it with a 12-story loft tower. Demolition is still years away, and in the meantime a Freed official said the company is absolutely committed to finding a new location for the theater.
But at least one Royal Oak official who has been working with Freed to find a new site worries they may be running out of options, especially after the City Commission last week rejected an idea that wouldve allowed developers, including Freed, to offer bids to buy and develop the City Hall and adjacent property. There are only so many opportunities and so many locations you can consider, said Planning Director Tim Thwing. I dont have anywhere to send them. Phyllis Salter, a fan of the Main Theatre, said losing the theater would be a tremendous loss to Royal Oak. Its just such a special theater and people really enjoy it, she said. Its a warmer, more human building and a lot of people who go there have things in common. The theater was built in the early 1940s as a single-screen movie theater and was added onto in the early 1990s, Thwing said. It now has three screens and has often been voted Best Place to see an Independent Film and Best Art Movie House in local papers. Ed Connell, director of development for Joseph Freed, said originally the company intended to build a new site for the theater in the north tower of its Main North project, but that plan failed. Connell said what Landmark has envisioned is a theater with six or seven screens, a bar and a cafe. It would be modeled after a theater in Dallas called The Magnolia. Chene Koppitz, who managed the Main Art and Maple Art Theatre for seven years, said Freed has 10 years left of a 20-year lease with Landmark for Main Art.

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