The plan Tuesday (April 12) night is to tear down the iconic theater and replace it with a five-story mixed-use development, which went before the city’s planning commission.
“I laughed and cried in this theater, and I’ve made so many memories,” said Jessica Bultman.
For Bultman, the Main Art Theatre is so much more than a theater.
“To see this theater go after being such a center staple of this community is unfathomable to me,” Bultman said.
To Bultman and many others who share the same feeling as her, the theater is the city’s soul as it is one of the last fixtures of its kind on Main Street in downtown Royal Oak.
After 80 years of existence, the theater closed its doors during the pandemic.
What happened next is the reason why people packed a city board meeting Tuesday night.
“We were sick when we heard they wanted to close the theater down, and we want to save it,” said Patricia Kosack.
Save the Main advocates can’t stomach the thought of the building being demolished either, but that’s what’s been proposed by the building’s owners, North Main Square LLC.
“The property at this northeast corner of 11 Mile Road and South Main Street is a premier location in the community,” said a man speaking at the podium.
Developers would like to replace the theater with a 71-foot mixed-use building that would feature commercial, retail, restaurant space, living spaces, parking, and the old marquee sign.
There’s no word yet on when the demolition will take place.