Plans submitted to tear down historic Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak

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Posted at 6:20 AM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 06:20:39-04

(WXYZ) — It could be the end of the historic Main Art Theater in Royal Oak. Owners of the beloved site have submitted plans to tear it down.

In June 2021, former tenants of the building say they were kicked out and closed the theater permanently.

There is major pushback on the plan to tear it down. When the theater closed last year, some of its biggest fans and customers got together and started a group called "Friends of Main Art." They're hoping to save the theater and see its iconic marquee shining bright again.

The theater in Royal Oak has been around since the 1940s. Customers come here to escape mainstream cinema and watch the work of independent filmmakers.

Under the pandemic lockdown, movie theaters were some of the first businesses to shutter, and Main Art was no exception.

They did eventually reopen, but sales weren't good. In April 202, the theater temporarily closed.

By June, this message was on the marquee: "Landlord kicked us out. It's been a fun ride. - Main Art Crew R.I.P. 1941-2021."

The company that owns the theater wants to erase its existence, but leaders of the "Friends of the Main Art" group are now planning a rally on April 9 to preserve the cultural landmark.

In a release, they said the owners brought up the possibility of including a smaller micro-cinema in the new development but no guarantees have been made at. this time.

They want to ensure the works of indie artists always have a home in Royal Oak.

The redevelopment plan will be looked over at the Royal Oak Planning Commission meeting on April 12.

Friends of the Main Art are asking supporters to attend and speak during public comment.