Detroit’s Michigan Opera Theatre has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the development of the 0.8-acre site adjacent to the Detroit Opera House and for the seven-story Detroit Opera House Parking Center across the street from the theatre on John R. Street.
The theater is seeking developers interested in pursuing a mixed-use project that could include a mid-to-high-rise tower housing a hotel, office space, apartments, condominiums, ground-floor retail and restaurants, and underground parking. The Detroit Opera House is not included in the RFP, and the garage structure may be modified.
Franklin Whitehall Advisors of Birmingham will serve as real estate advisors on the project.
The site is located between Madison and Broadway streets and used as a surface parking lot for Detroit Opera House events. It is expected that the property will be leased to the selected developer on a long-term basis.
Several developers have approached the theater in the last year regarding the properties, according to Rick Williams, chairman of the theater, and Wayne Brown, president and CEO.
Proceeds of any transaction will be used to strengthen the theater’s long-term financial stability and enhance the visitor experience at the opera house.
With the proposed development, the theater hopes to “make an impactful contribution to the momentum building in downtown Detroit.”
The site is located within walking distance of Detroit’s sports arenas, the Detroit Athletic Club, the QLine, Woodward Avenue, and Grand Circus Park.
The Detroit Opera House building opened in 1922 as the Capitol Theater. It was the first of a series of vaudeville and movie theaters built in Grand Circus Park. It was purchased by Michigan Opera Theatre in 1988 and was turned into the Detroit Opera House. Today its presents opera, dance, and theater performances to more than 250,000 patrons each year.
The Opera House Parking Center was built in 2006 and has space for 700 cars.
Grapes of Wrath, the theater’s season-ending production, will run May 11-19 at the opera house.
Michigan Opera Theatre was founded in 1971.