Main Art Theatre march in support of doomed Royal Oak cinema

April 10, 2022, 7:43 AM

The Main Art Theatre, which for years screened art-house, offbeat and other non-popcorn films, has always had a small but devoted cadre of supporters. On Saturday, they came out to demonstrate in support of their beloved cinema, closed since 2021 and recently marked for possible destruction.

Main Art fans say: Not so fast, developers. (Photo: Twitter/Jennifer Ann Wilson, WXYZ)

A group of roughly 100 individuals, energized by the Detroit Party Marching Band, marched in front of the Main Art in Royal Oak, asking that Friends of the Main Art be allowed to run the theater on a nonprofit model. 

The Detroit News reports

Demolishing the theater would be "detrimental" to the city, said (Friends of the Main Art President Jason) Krysiak. "(Building condominiums on the property) does not provide improvement to the city, it does not enhance the surviving properties and it doesn't foster walkability."

One developer's plan calls for the theater to be razed and a five-story, multi-use structure be built on the site, including a restaurant, retail, offices, parking and residences. 

Krysiak said while the owners of the theater are asking $5 million, the Friends of the Main Art would like to lease the theater to keep it standing.

Krysiak said his group has asked Democratic Congressman Andy Levin to help look for federal grants and other funding if the Friends of the Main Art are successful in getting the theater's owners to go along with a leasing plan.

Levin attended the rally, saying "I love this place" and pledged to "play a helpful role" in keeping the theater where it is.

Meanwhile, the Royal Oak City Planning Department will discuss matter Tuesday.

Read more:  The Detroit News

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