Royal Oak Planning Commission vote in favor of demolishing historic Main Art Theatre

Posted at 5:42 AM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 05:42:57-04

ROYAL OAK, MI (WXYZ) — Developers hoping to demolish the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak are one step closer to their goal.

After a lot of back and forth, the city's planning commission has voted 4 to 2 in favor of knocking down the historic site.

Developers plan to turn the theatre into a five-story multiuse building.

A.F. Jonna, a management and development company says the proposal to knock down the building is in the city's best interest.

"One of the bylines of our city is live work and play in this city and this building will exemplify all of those goals," North Main attorney said.

They want to build what they call North Main Square, a five-story building with stores, apartments, and offices.

"We are looking to make a good investment here," the developer said.

Justin Krysniak started a group to oppose the proposal and save the theatre. He's hoping developers are still willing to meet halfway.

"They met with our group two times when they did not have to do that. We had very cordial and open conversations about the potential of this project," Krysniak said.

After much consideration and 90 minutes of public comments, the council took their vote voting 4 to 2 in favor of demolishing the site.

Nicholas Holliver believes if the city sees this project through, luxury apartments with less affordable rent costs will drive people out of Royal Oak.

"What would be really cool is to be able to make Royal Oak accessible for all types of people so that we can all mix our culture together to create one Royal Oak."

That vote was only a recommendation to the Royal Oak City Commission.

They will make the final decision to permit the project.