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July 16, 2013

Plans proceed on local MJR theater complex

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

The Troy Planning Commission took the first step in the process to approve plans to build the MJR Theatres Troy Grand Cinema 16 at the southeast corner of Maple and Livernois July 9. 

The commission unanimously approved the preliminary site plan review for the complex to be constructed on the 12.4-acre site of the former Kmart store. Planning Commissioner Robert Schultz was absent from the meeting. The final site plan will be presented for review and approval by the city Planning Department.

The plan included a reduction of 297 parking spaces from the city guidelines. The reduction to 770 parking spaces from 1,067 maintains a ratio of one space per four theater seats, which Ben Carlisle, of the city’s planning consultant Carlisle/Wortman Associates, said was adequate.

“We do support the parking mitigation,” he said.

City recommendations for the plans going forward were installation of a traffic divider at the western entrance to the complex from Maple Road, an 8-foot sidewalk along Maple and Livernois, increasing the internal sidewalks to 6 feet, planting trees and providing screening along Livernois, possibly with a hedge wall.

“One of the first things I heard when I got here is that Troy lacked a movie theater,” said Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick, who spoke briefly at the meeting during the public comment section.

He noted that the people involved in the project are doing an excellent job.

“The site plan is really a boon for the area,” Carlisle said. “This theater is the perfect type of development envisioned for the corridor.”

MJR CEO and founder Michael Mihalich said he had no issues with the city’s requests.

“We are kind of on a fast track here,” he said. “We’re willing to do whatever we have to do.”

The MJR Theatres Troy Grand Cinema 16 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, 56-inch spacing — which is 3 to 4 inches wider than standard movie theater seating — and a Dolby Atmos sound system.

Mihalich hopes to break ground for the 3,200-seat, 16-screen, 74,000-square-foot facility in September, and the cinema is scheduled to open in May of next year.

Planning Commissioner Tom Krent said he liked that the complex would be close to Livernois, which would promote walkability.

“We’re looking forward to this,” Mihalich said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.