Millions in development on table in Roseville

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published July 26, 2013

 Construction of an Emagine theater at the old Kmart lot on 13 Mile Road, just east of Little Mack, is slated to begin by the beginning of next year.

Construction of an Emagine theater at the old Kmart lot on 13 Mile Road, just east of Little Mack, is slated to begin by the beginning of next year.

Photo by Sara Kandel


ROSEVILLE — Development projects, valued in the millions, are underway in Roseville.

Until recently, city officials have remained tight-lipped about developments, especially the rumored Emagine cinema planned for the Commercial Rehabilitation District at 13 Mile Road and Little Mack. 

“We’ve been very cautious about this,” said City Manager Scott Adkins. “So often, we can’t release any information until the developer has secured the property and finished all the necessary legal preparation, but we are glad to finally say the Emagine development has progressed to fruition.”

The initial review of the site plans for the Emagine complex is currently underway. Adkins anticipates the approval process to be completed by the end of October.

“This is a very aggressive time schedule for us,” Adkins said. “Once the approvals are in place, that permits them to move forward with demolition of the current structure and construction of the new building.”

The project is planned for the old Kmart lot on the north side of 13 Mile Road, just east of Little Mack. The project has an estimated price tag of $20 million and will include the complete demolition of the current 130,000-square-foot building and the construction of an 80,000-square-foot complex that will house the largest movie screen in the state.

“It’s going to be 84 feet wide and over 50 feet tall,” said Emagine CEO Paul Glantz. “This will be larger than the Imax screen at the Henry Ford. Typical theater screens vary in size, but they are usually 30-60 feet wide; this is adding 30 percent onto that. Anytime we open a new theater, we want to have something special to give guests a compelling reason to come out.”

Glantz estimated construction on the project to begin by the first of next year. The theater is expected to open to the public in October 2014.

In addition to the theater complex, the city is in talks about an out lot for a restaurant that will be located adjacent to the theater.

Thus far, the project is a year in the making — last August, Council approved the commercial rehabilitation district, where the theater will be located.

New developments in the district, like the theater, are eligible for a maximum of a 10-year tax abatement program that freezes the taxable value of the building and exempts any new investments from local taxes. School district and state taxes are exempt from the abatement.

The commercial rehabilitation district is meant to act as an incentive for businesses and a long-term investment for cities.

“Whatever we give up on the onset, we will more than make up for in the long-term, not to mention the spin-off development that will happen in the area,” Adkins said. “We expect the Emagine project to be a catalyst for development in the area.”

And development has increased in the area directly surrounding the theater site. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store remodeled and moved into the old Circuit City building on the southwest corner of 13 Mile Road and Little Mack, and, although Adkins could not reveal specifics, he did confirm that developers are looking at the vacant gas station and Detroit Donuts property directly across the street on the northwest corner.

“This is more than just a theater project — it’s more complex than that,” Adkins said. “This will be a magnet to draw people to the area for entertainment purposes.”

The Emagine project is one of many multimillion dollar projects on the table in Roseville.

“Literally just down the road, we have the L.A. Fitness project at the Continental Lanes site at 13 Mile and Gratiot,” Adkins said. “We have sent the developers our requirements for site plan submissions and we expect to receive their plans within the next two weeks.”

Adkins was unable to comment further on the L.A. Fitness project, but did confirm the real-estate transaction is completed and the new developers are in the site-planning stages.

And there is more in the works.

“Those are just two of over a dozen significant development projects we have on the table right now,” Adkins said. “And that’s not including any potential future redevelopment of Macomb Mall, although we are encouraged by the dialogue we have had with the new owners.”

Each of the possible developments stands to bring $1 million or more in investment dollars into the city.

Adkins added that the city isn’t just interested in working with big-box developers.

“We are working with big businesses and we are working with small businesses and mom and pops — they are just as important to us as big businesses,” Adkins said, before adding that all new development is positive for the area.

“Even if these development projects involve tax incentives or take place in districts where they are eligible for a tax abatement, there is still a significant long-term economic advantage for the city,” Adkins said. “These projects will be a catalyst for neighboring development, local jobs and some tax dollars.”