Pontiac, MI – What we learned from the Flagstar Strand Theatre construction preview

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on August 16, 2016 at 11:44 am

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From the Oakland Press: One of Pontiac’s oldest performance venues is scheduled to reopen its doors on December 1 after $20 million worth of renovations and rebranding.

The Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts announced the news during its “Choose Your Seat” event held on Thursday, August 11 at the historic Pontiac venue. Guests had a chance to reserve a seat in the theater for the next three years, priced from $500 to $2,500.

The event also served as a construction preview that showcased the renovations completed to the date. Guests were given a tour of the progress made in rebuilding the structure’s interior, which is nearly 100 years old.

“I’m blessed to be here,” said Kyle Westberg, owner of the Strand and developer in downtown Pontiac.

Aside from the estimated opening date, here is what we learned regarding the Strand’s progress.

  1. Slows BBQ will open in mid-November and operate seven days a week on its own separate schedule

The Strand will be adjoined to the first and only Slows BBQ location in Oakland County – the company’s fourth restaurant. Slows had previously been offered openings in other parts of Oakland County but turned them all down.

“Slows said yes to Pontiac 15 minutes after getting the Strand’s offer,” Westberg said.

The Detroit-based restaurant will serve their signature barbecue dishes including “The Yardbird,” their award-winning pulled and smoked Amish chicken sandwich, along with side dishes, craft beer and cocktail offerings throughout the theater’s bars, lounges and VIP areas.

  1. The venue will feature a mixed bag of performers

According to the Strand, ““Performers will include an eye-catching mix of national touring artists in Rock, R&B, Blues, Classic Rock, Country, Classical, Jazz and more in addition to touring Broadway, theatrical productions, comedy and family entertainment.”

  1. The Strand almost became another nightclub

According to Westberg, three buyers were interested in purchasing the theater in 2013. One of the interested purchasers wanted to turn the building, which served as a movie theater from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, into another downtown Pontiac nightclub like Elektricity or Tonic (now defunct).

Westberg’s company eventually won the bid and has been renovating the Strand in compliance with federal historic restoration processes that give tax breaks to the private sector for rehabilitating and reusing historic buildings.

  1. Movie screenings will take place in a small viewing room

Westberg said that community outreach is important to the Strand. The company plans to work with Oakland University and Pontiac Schools on concerts and theater productions that will benefit local students.

Westberg also envisions holding a weekly movie series for Pontiac senior citizens at little to no charge. A small room adjacent to the second level of the theater will have a movie projector installed for small movie viewings and business meetings.

  1. The theater will be an intimate performance destination for high-profile artists

The renovated Strand will accommodate up to 900 people. The room will feature oversized luxury chairs for added comfort across three levels of seating. Though no performances have been announced, President/CEO Bill Lee has been in talks with acts such as Celine Dion and Chris Rock for booking.

Story link: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20160815/what-we-learned-from-the-flagstar-strand-theatre-construction-preview

ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at historictheatres.org

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