Economic Development Corporation Approves $1.0 Million Loan for Woodward Theater



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DETROIT – The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit has approved a $1.0 million loan towards the restoration of the historic Garden Theater at 3919 Woodward Ave. as a performance, retail and conference center that will be renamed the Woodward Theater.

“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.”

The renovation is the third phase of a mixed-use development across the entire 3900 block of Woodward Ave. Named Woodward Garden, the development also includes an office building and parking structure and anticipates building a number of apartments as well. The Michigan Strategic Fund is providing $750,000 from its Michigan Community Revitalization Program to fund the loan, and the Detroit Casino Loan Fund will provide the other $250,000.

The Woodward Theater was designed by C. Howard Crane, the architect who also designed Orchestra Hall and the Fox Theatre. The developer, Woodward Theater LLC estimates the cost of renovating it at $12.3 million. It will include a performance venue that will seat 1,300 people and a number of other meeting rooms.

The developer has also been approved for a SmartBuildings Detroit grant to make energy-saving improvements to the building.

“It’s a great day,” said George Stewart, managing partner for the developing group. “It shows what you can do in Detroit when you get all the right parties committed to a project. We appreciate the way the EDC and Michigan Strategic Fund were able to act within a very short time frame; without these funds we would not be able to proceed.”

Brian Holdwick, executive vice president for business development at DEGC said, “This is a very important step forward for an anchor development in Midtown. 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.”

MEDC president and CEO Michael A. Finney said, “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. Through the Michigan Community Revitalization Program, we can offer quicker access to funding assistance for developers while affording lower costs and greater flexibility.”

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