Theater planned for vacant Kmart on Maple
By Terry Oparka
May 21, 2013
A blighted area on Maple Road will get a $16 million boost when a new MJR Digital Cinema is constructed on the southeast corner of Maple and Livernois, the site of a vacant Kmart store.
“This is a game-changer for the Maple Road corridor,” said Troy City Planner Brent Savidant.
Groundbreaking for the 3,200-seat, 16-screen, 74,000-square-foot facility is scheduled for September, and the cinema is scheduled to open next May.
The movie complex is expected to draw more than 800,000 patrons per year and create 70 new jobs.
Savidant explained that the zoning for the Maple Road corridor is mixed use, intended to stimulate reinvestment. “This will create excitement at that corner,” he said.
The MJR Troy Grand will feature five high-definition, 3-D auditoriums and the “MJR Epic Experience” — a 460-seat auditorium with an 80-by-48-foot screen, overstuffed leather-like lounge chairs with 56-inch spacing, which is about 4 inches wider than standard movie theater seating, and a Dolby Atmos sound system.
“The Epic screen, to me, that’s very exciting,” said MJR CEO and founder
Michael Mihalich. There will also be an MJR Studio Bar and Lounge in the lobby of the complex.
With completion of the Troy Grand theater complex, MJR, which is based in Michigan, will be operating 148 movie screens at nine locations in the state, including 15 Mile and Van Dyke in Sterling Heights and Partridge Creek in Clinton Township.
“I was looking for something in the center of town,” Mihalich said. “I can’t think of a better place.”
The Kmart store has been vacant since 2009.
Mark Miller, director of economic and community development for Troy, said Economic Development Specialist Glenn Lapin has been working with the owners of the property for some time on redevelopment of the site. Mihalich learned that the city was eager to work with developers on the site through a mutual friend of Councilman Dave Henderson.
“Troy had a reputation of being difficult to build in,” Mihalich said. “Troy is a great community. I like the rules as long as they are fair. So I looked at it again.”
Mayor Dane Slater explained that the city has aimed to streamline processes for developers.
“We look at speed now, and being fast, fair and predictable,” Slater said. “It’s a great team,” he said of city staff.
Mihalich said he plans to work with local restaurants to offer movie and dinner packages.
“I think this is the perfect spot for this,” Slater said. “It was worth the wait.
About the author
Staff Writer Terry Oparka covers Troy and the Troy School District for the Troy Times. Oparka has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2000 and attended Oakland University and Macomb Community College. Oparka has won an award from the Michigan Press Association and three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Detroit Chapter.
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