Grosse Pointe Theatre kicked out of home after 54 years

War Memorial board wants to upgrade theater

GROSSE POINTE FARMS, Mich. – It's a beloved community jewel, but upgrades at the  have neighbors unhappy and left a community institution without a home.

The board of the War Memorial wants to upgrade the theater, which has housed Grosse Pointe Theatre for 54 years. The upgrade includes getting rid of nearly 200 seats, bringing in a state-of-the-art movie screen and partnering with Emagine to bring in first-run movies.

The move means Grosse Pointe Theatre is now without a home.

"This came out of the blue," theater member Laura Bartell said. "We've been in this building for 54 years. We've got patrons who have had their tickets for 40 years."

Theater members are upset, and they're not alone. The board got an earful from neighbors who don't like this idea one bit.

"Why didn't you ask us?" was the constant refrain from neighbors who think bringing in a one-screen movie theater will be a parking and traffic nightmare. The War Memorial did send out a community questionnaire.

The board members made it clear they don't foresee any traffic problems and view it as an upgrade for the facility.

"We're responding to a need and we're going to curate this experience," War Memorial Director Charles Burke said. "We're going to do this with first class integrity with everything we do."

That includes possibly brokering nine weeks for the theater group in 2018, which the group made clear is not nearly enough. It's hoping for a new facility in Grosse Pointe Park in the future.

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