PONTIAC, MI – The city of Pontiac, Mich. is experiencing a resurgence similar to what’s being seen in other large cities around the state, like Detroit and Grand Rapids. Millions of dollars are being invested in the city to renovate and refurbish historic buildings. One such project is the rehabilitation of the 895-seat Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts, which will reopen in fall 2016 with $20 million in renovations.
Key leaders including the developer, architect, financial investors, theatre ownership and city and state officials held a ground breaking ceremony on April 13 to celebrate the refurbishment of this historic gem as a dynamic live entertainment destination, the centerpiece for revitalization of Pontiac’s city center.
The Flagstar Strand Theatre, a former 1921 vaudeville theatre and later movie house, has not operated since the mid-1990s. Kyle Westberg, president and CEO of West Construction, the general contractors on the project, said that he and his brother Brent Westberg bought the theatre essentially to save it and preserve its historic value. The Westbergs partnered with TDG Architects, an architectural firm based in Pontiac, with the goal of maintaining this irreplaceable historic asset while using it as a catalyst to spark economic and community growth.
“Brent and I looked at the Flagstar Strand Theatre project as an opportunity to continue the forward progress of the reinvention of the city of Pontiac, particularly downtown Pontiac,” said Kyle. “We are blessed to be put in a position to reopen this historic facility, provide new jobs to the community and kick start economic development. Downtown Pontiac is destined to be the arts, culture and entertainment district of Oakland County and we feel the Flagstar Strand Theatre will be the anchor of this district.”
Financing for the Flagstar Strand Theatre project comes from a private-public partnership between Develop Michigan (DMI), an affiliate of Cinnaire; Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC); IFF; Enhanced Capital; Opportunity Resource Fund; Oakland County and the City of Pontiac.
DMI facilitates and finances commercial real estate projects by providing developers with access to capital when traditional financing isn’t available or additional funding is necessary. DMI’s goal is to revitalize Michigan communities and is proud to partner with West Construction and the other financial partners to help drive economic progress in downtown Pontiac.
“The Flagstar Strand Theatre project is a great example of what Develop Michigan can accomplish through our partnership with the MEDC,” said Rick Laber, DMI president. “The financing for this project wouldn’t have been possible without the MEDC’s willingness to partner with DMI.”
According to Encore Performing Arts Center’s President and CEO Bill Lee, who will be managing the daily operations at the Flagstar Strand Theatre, there are 2.7 million people within a 20-minute drive of downtown Pontiac. He sees the Flagstar Strand Theatre as playing an integral part in drawing visitors and new residents to the city.
“Our programming initiative is to inspire and educate via the performing arts. And to that end we will present a broad array of live entertainment to a wide and diverse audience base, which will include national touring shows and artists from all genres of music, theatrical productions, comedy and family entertainment,” said Lee. “With comfort, convenience and great shows topped off with Slows Barb BQ, the Flagstar Strand Theatre will offer a one-of-a-kind live entertainment experience for all of our guests.”
About Develop Michigan
Develop Michigan drives economic progress through a strategic partnership with Development Finance Group, MEDC and Cinnaire. Facilitating commercial real estate projects by providing access to capital, Develop Michigan helps transform downtowns by providing opportunities for developers to create a sense of place through commercial space. For more information, visit developmichigan.net.
About West Construction Services
West Construction Services is a premier general contracting and development firm dedicated to providing exceptional solutions to our clients, forming long-term partnerships and a commitment to preserving and enhancing the community. Based on family values and a deep sense of social responsibility, we aspire to be the recognized leader in the construction industry by being committed to organizational diversity and growth; cutting-edge construction techniques; efficient use of resources and exceptional architectural design. West Construction Services developed, built, owns and operates Pontiac’s Lafayette Place, which includes Lafayette Market, Lafayette Place Lofts and Anytime Fitness. For more information, call (248) 758-9925.
About the Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts
The Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts located in downtown Pontiac will be a premier destination for live entertainment, education and the performing arts. Ideally designed with 895 luxury seats, the historic theater will provide a unique and extraordinary entertainment experience from every seat with intimate sight lines, pure state-of-the-art acoustics and premier food and beverage selections provided by the award winning Slows Bar BQ. Shows at The Flagstar Strand Theatre will consist of a diverse and plentiful mix of the world’s finest and most well-known artists and performers. All genres of music ranging from classical, jazz, contemporary, R&B, rock, classic rock, blues, country and world music will be presented at The Flagstar Strand Theatre. The theatre will also host touring theatrical productions, comedy, family entertainment and programming for children and seniors. For information about donations, underwriting, educational and community programs, sponsorships and how to “fund a seat,” visit FlagstarStrandTheatrePontiac.com.
About Encore Performing Arts Center
Encore Performing Arts Center, a non-profit 501(c) (3) will direct all Flagstar Strand Theatre operations, fundraising and programming with the mission to revitalize this historic and irreplaceable theatre; provide educational and performing arts programming to underserved children and seniors; act as an economic catalyst to provide jobs and lead economic growth and to present a broad variety of entertainment experiences of the highest artistic quality.