LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. Wednesday announced that the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a $750,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program incentive for the redevelopment of the Garden Theater in Detroit that will generate up to $12.3 million in new private investment, adding up to 84 new full time jobs.

“This project will strengthen midtown Detroit and act as a catalyst for a viable residential neighborhood by redeveloping an obsolete building into a vibrant entertainment venue,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. “Through the Michigan Community Revitalization Program, we can offer quicker access to funding assistance for developers while affording lower costs and greater flexibility.”

The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit has been awarded a $750,000 Community Revitalization Program incentive to renovate the Garden Theater on Woodward Avenue into the Woodward Theater, a 32,000 square foot entertainment venue that will feature live music and other artistic performances.

The 1,300-seat facility will also support corporate conference and sales meetings that require access to high end visual and sound equipment and a large auditorium setting. The project is expected to create up to 84 permanent full-time jobs, with a total capital investment of approximately $12.3 million.

“This is a very important step forward for an anchor development in Midtown,” said Brian Holdwick, executive vice president for business development at DEGC. “It is an excellent example of using several historic structures as the foundation for new investment and economic growth, because it brings together entertainment, retail stores, office space and eventually, much needed rental housing.”

Signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder in December, the Michigan Community Revitalization Program provides grants, loans, or other economic assistance of up to $10 million to projects that will revitalize regional urban areas, act as a catalyst for additional investment in a community, reuse vacant or historic buildings and promote mixed use and sustainable development.

According to the Web site, the theater at Woodward and Alexandrine boasted garden-style decorations and seating for 900 when it opened in 1912 as one of the largest Detroit theaters outside downtown. It closed as a theater in 1949 and reopened as a nightclub, and later became an X-rated theater under the names “Peek-A-Rama” and “Sassy Cat.”


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