Strand Theatre renovations intended to kickstart downtown Pontiac revitalization June 1, 2016

Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts is undergoing renovations as a critical component of a high-profile revitalization for Michigan’s downtown Pontiac.

The theater is expected to host over 300 events annually and also will house Slows BarBq, a full-service restaurant and food service facility; an education and community service venue; and office space. The project will maintain the historic building’s integrity.

Encore Performing Arts Center, the nonprofit that will manage all operations and programs for the theater, plans to turn the community asset into a dynamic destination that attracts audiences, diners, and shoppers from neighboring communities. The project will create an estimated 20 full-time positions and 40 part-time positions in an area with one of the state’s highest unemployment rates. Additionally, Slows BarBq is expected to create 15 full-time and 85 part-time jobs.

IFF contributed a $750,000 loan to finance renovations and to improve the overall financial stability of the project. The former Strand Theatre first opened in 1921, closed in the 1980s, and reopened briefly in the 1990s before closing again. The city of Pontiac has owned the building since 1986.