New $14M Royal Oak cinema has green gusto

Emagine Entertainment is lining all of its financial ducks in neat rows as it gets funding to build a new movie theater in downtown Royal Oak.

Right now the Plymouth-based firm is planning to begin construction this summer. It's also making design tweaks for LEED certification and incorporating big green features like solar panels.

"We're going to build a very green entertainment complex," says Paul Glantz, founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment. "I think it will be well received in the marketplace. Folks will value that in Royal Oak."

Emagine is also putting the final touches on an application for brownfield tax credits from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Glantz plans to pair that with a Small Business Administration loan and some traditional financing to make the deal work.

Glantz expects the tax credits, which the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority supports, to be approved within the next few weeks. He hopes to have the construction cash in hand shortly afterward so he can break ground in June or July. That's key so he can kick construction into full gear before the extra costs of winter construction come into play.

"We're trying to get the building closed before the weather hits," Glantz says.

Emagine Entertainment plans to build a 10-screen movie theater complete with food, alcohol, and bowling options. The new complex will go on the parking lot on 11 Mile Road just east of Main Street behind the Main Art Theatre.

The plans call for a two-story, 73,000-square-foot brick and limestone clad building that will resemble its theaters in Novi and Canton. It will show first-run movies and is not expected to provide direct competition with an indie-and-foreign movie house like the Main Art Theatre.

The new cinema's entrance will face the back of the Main Art Theatre, while the section facing 11 Mile will have windows similar to a traditional storefront but will otherwise be an inactive space. Traffic will be routed off of 11 Mile around the theater and then out onto Troy Street.

The $14 million project will house 1,680 seats and 16 lanes of bowling. There will also be a private party area/meeting room on a second-floor mezzanine level over the main entrance. The theater is expected to create 40 new full-time jobs and another 60 part-time positions.

Source: Paul Glantz, founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment
Writer: Jon Zemke