Shores Theatre - St. Clair Shores MI

Address: 23495 Greater Mack Ave
City: St. Clair Shores
State: MI
Zip: 48080
County: Macomb
Open: 1942
Owner History:
Theater Type: Neighborhood House
Number of visits to this page: 13168
General Information:

AKA: Shores-Madrid, Joy Theater

Perhaps the last great East Side suburban movie house’s, the Shores Theatre was opened around 1938 and was designed by architectural firm Bennett & Straight in a Streamline Moderne style with silhouetted walls. In 2008 it was listed as closed for renovation, but this never happened.

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Info Updates:
12/16/2010 - Stan
Ah, what great memories. I remember going to the Shores staring as a kid in 1951. I grew up going to that theatre. My first ever girlfriend and I would go the Saturday matinees and take seats in the back row along with the rest of the young couples. My buddies and I saw the Wax Museum with Vincent Price in 3D at that theatre. It scared the heck out of us and I had nightmares for months. Some may remember the pear orchard which was just south of the theatre next to the Big Bear market. We used to steal fruit from there to snack on while walking home from the movies. We also saw its A long long trailer starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez. A trailer which matched the one in the movie was on display in front of the theatre while the picture was running. Oh yeh, the usher's name was Al.
8/12/2009 - St. Clair Shores Sentinel
Paper: St. Clair Shores Sentinel (MI) Title: Theater reportedly will not reopen as cinema Date: August 12, 2009 The expansion plan at Shores Theatre on Greater Mack appears to be a thing of the past.The historic building located just south of Nine Mile has stood vacant since late 2006, and in recent weeks "For Sale" signs have popped up outside and on the front marquee. St. Clair Shores Community Development Director Chris Rayes said he has received numerous inquiries from residents curious about the status of the once-popular movie theater, but he too is unable to give reassurance that it will once again be showing blockbuster films in the future. "I don't believe the plan is any further going to be executed," Rayes said last week. That plan was to expand the 70-year-old theater from two screens to five, with additional concessions and less parking. The initial plan was to expand the theater to eight screens, but architects went back to the drawing board after residents protested the expansion, fearing increased traffic in the generally quiet area. The new plan meant that Shores Theatre would have expanded from 440 seats and two screens to just over 500 seats and five screens. It was intended, as part of the site plan approved by City Council on Oct. 16, 2006, that the developers would create long-term recordable lease agreements with surrounding business owners within 300 feet of the theater for use of their parking lots. According to expansion plans, the three new studio-sized theaters would have encroached on 21 parking spaces. And the plan still stirred controversy. Al LaHood, who owns property on which the theater would have expanded to, and Travis Hamburger owner Paul McAdory opposed in court the $3 million expansion plan because it left only three parking spaces. Developers assumed patrons would be able to use local school parking spaces during specific times of the day as well as parking lots at surrounding businesses. McAdory did not agree with the plan and argued that he was never contacted for an agreement to such a plan. Regardless, the approval by City Council for the expansion would continue. LaHood said last week that he hasn't heard anything about an impending expansion. The individual listed on the marquee of the theater did not return a phone call for comment, neither did Bruce Ferguson, chief financial officer of Liggett Holdings LLC, the owners of the building. Earlier last year, Ferguson said the expansion would have taken approximately five months to complete. He had said the goal of the plan was to promote foot traffic in the Greater Mack and Nine Mile area. Rayes said expansion of the theater would have increased property values in the area. He also said there is a major stipulation in the purchasing contract. "The owner is restricting the use of the building," Rayes said. "The person who buys it cannot open it as a movie theater. The city wasn't told why." The theater, however, could be re-opened to host live stage performances.
2/6/2007 - Detroit Free Press
Parking woes slow theater project St. Clair Shores firms sue to stop it January 19, 2007 BY SHABINA S. KHATRI FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER After jumping through numerous hoops to win city approval on an expansion of its downtown movie theater, the Shores Theatre Group in St. Clair Shores is still battling opposition. Nearby businesses worried about available parking filed lawsuits last month against the city to stop the renovations, which are scheduled to occur over the next few months. "We joke about it. We never thought it would be this hard to spend millions of dollars on a new theater," said Bruce Ferguson, chief financial officer of the Shores Theatre Group. "But we'll get there." Expansion plans for the 60-year-old theater, located on Greater Mack near 9 Mile, were first proposed last March, but were tabled after neighbors expressed concerns over increased noise and traffic. Following six months of debate and negotiations, the City Council voted 4-3 in October to approve a scaled-down expansion plan. Instead of doubling seating capacity and expanding the theater to an eight-screen complex, it would go from 440 seats and two screens to five screens with just more than 500 seats. But the $3-million plans are still not sitting well with everyone. The owners of Travis Hamburgers, which is located across the street from the theater, and La Hood Properties, which owns businesses near the theater, filed suits against the city in December after negotiations with the theater over the parking issue broke down. "The enlargement will basically have over 550 seats and only three parking spaces," said Councilman Kip Walby, who voted against the variance approval last fall. That means, he added, that theatergoers would park in spaces of neighboring businesses. Since October, the city has been working to mediate discussions between area businesses and the theater. Meanwhile, Ferguson said the theater, which closed in mid-November to begin renovations, has pushed back its reopening from May 1 to July 1. "We've had to slow down until this gets resolved," he said Wednesday. "But every project has its hurdles -- this is just one more."
11/24/2006 - Detroit News
St. Clair Shores theater gets face-lift Expansion project shuts site for 5 months Christina Stolarz / The Detroit News ST. CLAIR SHORES -- As a self-proclaimed movie buff, Joann Boivin enjoys Saturday nights out at the Shores Theatre. But with only two movies to choose from at any given time, Boivin often finds herself at home with a rental video. And that's where she'll remain for the next five or so months during the historic theater's renovation and expansion project. The neighborhood cinema -- at the southwest corner of Nine Mile and Greater Mack -- closed earlier this month to gear up for the $3 million project that will add three screens and more variety for movie patrons. "I think it would be a great improvement," said Boivin, 70, who lives about a mile from the theater. "I think it's good." About two years in the making, the theater project has begun with interior demolition scheduled for later this month, said David Tolfree, operational manager for the theater. The goal, he said, is to have the project wrapped up for a May 1 grand opening with the premiere of "Spider-Man 3." "I think we can do it but it's going to be tight," he said. "It's finally growing like it should. Everyone seems really excited about it." The theater interior will be gutted to make way for five theaters with stadium seating, two concessions stands, a larger lobby and two entrances. The exterior of the facility, which was built in 1935, will feature two automated ticket kiosks and new signage. The theater's existing marquee will be preserved by the city's historical society, said theater spokesman Bruce Ferguson. As the Shores Theatre stands now, it has 440 seats; under the new plan, capacity will rise to about 508 seats, he said. To make room for the additional features, the theater's back wall will come down and extend about 100 feet into the existing parking lot. The theater has about 24 spaces, but once it adds 8,069 square feet -- for a total of 13,608 square feet -- it will only have four spaces, said Liz Koto, city planner. Theater officials have signed agreements with four nearby businesses -- Roy O'Brien Ford, Republic Bank, South Lake School District and Farmer Jack -- to use about 200 spaces once they've closed, Ferguson said. Officials will use theater brochures, pre-movie trailers and an updated Web site to explain to patrons where to park, he said. "It's been a long haul," Ferguson said. "We just had to make sure the project fit. This was a good compromise." The original expansion project -- eight movie screens and nearly double its 440 seats -- was postponed by the Planning Commission in April because officials were concerned about its size and traffic impact on the nearby neighborhood, he said. The scaled-back version of the project won approval from the Planning Commission in September and the City Council in October.
10/21/2006 - Detroit News
Theater plan gets go-ahead from council Expansion from 3 to 5 screens, more parking get St. Clair Shores' approval. Christina Stolarz / The Detroit News ST. CLAIR SHORES -- An expansion of the historic Shores Theatre from two screens to five is one step closer to fruition -- all in time for the spring release of "Spider-Man 3." St. Clair Shores City Council members voted 4-3 Monday to approve site plans for a downsized version of the expansion that calls for five screens and an additional 68 seats. However, before the estimated $3 million project can move forward, it must go before the city's Zoning Board of Appeals on Nov. 2 for approval for the height of the marquee and the number of available parking spaces. "I think the entire city is excited about it," Councilman Matt Ahearn said. "This is a great, great project. I know we can make this work." The original expansion project -- to increase the theater to eight movie screens and nearly double its 440 seats -- was postponed by the Planning Commission in April because officials were concerned about its size and traffic impact on the nearby neighborhood, said Bruce Ferguson, theater spokesman. The scaled-back proposal for the neighborhood theater, which was built in the 1930s, won Planning Commission approval in September, he said. "We believe we have found the appropriate balance," Ferguson said. "The ZBA is really the last hurdle for parking." As the Shores Theatre stands now, it has 24 parking spaces, said Liz Koto, city planner. But, once it adds 8,069 square feet -- for a total of 13,608 square feet -- it will lose about 21 parking spaces. A total of 58 parking spaces are required for the theater, which will have a 508-seat capacity, she said. The Shores Theatre Group has struck lease agreements with four nearby businesses -- Farmer Jack, Republic Bank, Roy O'Brien Ford and South Lake School District -- to use parking spaces once they're closed, Ferguson said. Ferguson said the biggest parking dilemma will be for weekday matinees from 2-5 p.m. because those businesses will still be open. However, he said, theater attendance is typically low at that time with only about 25 moviegoers. "There's so much parking in the overall area," he said. "Our customers have never had a problem finding a place to park and they've never caused a problem anywhere else." Still, Councilwoman Erin Stahl fears the theater's lack of parking will cause problems for other area businesses. She thinks the businesses to the south of the theater -- where there are no lease agreements for parking -- will be burdened because they're the closest to the theater. Resident Joann Boivin disagrees because, she thinks, there's plenty of parking nearby. "They didn't have that many parking places before," said Boivin, 70. "There are places like Royal Oak and Birmingham and they don't have parking either and they've survived. I think the chance of having five screens with more variety is good. "It's progress and we need that."
10/10/2006 - Detroit News
St. Clair Shores to review theater expansion plans Edward L. Cardenas / The Detroit News ST. CLAIR SHORES -- The owners of the Shores Theatre in St. Clair Shores hope to navigate the web of government approvals needed to open an expanded movie house in time for the spring release of "Spider-Man 3." The Shores Theatre Group on Tuesday will go before the St. Clair Shores Planning Commission with plans to expand the 440-seat, two-screen theater on Mack, near Nine Mile, to five screens with just over 500 seats. A previous plan to raze the building and construct an eight-screen theater was tabled in March. Now, the owners are looking to renovate the 70-year-old structure and expand into the current parking lot to accommodate the additional screens. "We have been working on some way to develop the operation to meet the city's needs, as well as meeting our needs," said Bruce Ferguson, chief financial officer for the group. "With only two screens, we don't have much buying-power to get the movies we want. By getting five theaters, we get a much broader selection of the movies coming out." The request for site plan approval will be considered during the Planning Commission meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the City Hall Council Chambers, 27600 Jefferson. Ferguson said that if the theater group receives city approval for the $3 million renovation, work would start before year's end and be completed within four months. Ideally, it would be about a month before the May 4 release of "Spider-Man 3," he said. The plan that will be presented to the city will include a traffic study, which was not mentioned in the previous plan, and letters of intent from neighboring businesses that will permit theater parking in their lots when they are closed. The design of the marquee will take its inspiration from the 1940s, and the interior will have an art deco look. "No variances will be required," said Liz Koto, St. Clair Shores city planner. "They really took the time to understand the existing zoning ordinances." Koto added that the new plan was submitted with more information and is more compatible with the area. "This is something we very much want in the city," she said. "It has the potential for bringing in a lot more people to the Nine Mile and Mack and be the catalyst for more development around there."
10/4/2006 - Detroit Free Press
Shores Theater expansion is closer Council must OK plan for St. Clair Shores complex September 29, 2006 BY SHABINA S. KHATRI FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER Despite months of controversy and doubts, the Shores Theatre in St. Clair Shores may get a makeover. That was the conclusion of the city's Planning Commission this week, which unanimously approved a site plan Tuesday to expand the 60-year-old, 440-seat, two-screen theater on Greater Mack near 9 Mile to five screens with just over 500 seats. The owners of the theater must still go before the City Council next month, but officials said reactions to the plan have been positive. "They definitely did their homework," City Planner Liz Koto said Thursday. The theater's $3-million plan is a scaled-back version of one tabled by the commission in March. That proposal, which would have doubled seating capacity and expanded the theater to an eight-screen complex, raised the ire of neighboring residents, who expressed concerns about noise and traffic. The new plan is a compromise both sides said they're happy with. "The coffee shops and the restaurants in the area are really going to benefit from this new theater," Bruce Ferguson, the ownership group's chief financial officer, said Thursday. "This project really meets everybody's needs." At Tuesday's meeting, the group presented an independent traffic study that found the level of service of the roads surrounding the theater would not be significantly impacted by the addition of three screens -- a point that seems to have quelled some fears, Ferguson said. "I think having a smaller theater got everyone to settle down," he said. If approved by the council at its Oct. 16 meeting, the theater would close for construction after Thanksgiving and reopen in April. Because the number of patrons will be smaller than originally planned, the theater no longer will share a parking lot with South Lake High School. Had that arrangement gone forward, the theater's owners had agreed to provide the school with new tennis courts and a renovated soccer field. "That was one of the casualties of having to downsize the project," Ferguson said, adding that the theater will instead lease parking space from nearby vendors.
10/1/2003 - Karen P Hunt
My grandfather cleaned this theater! The popcorn in those days would come already popped (they just heated it up), and when a rat got into it, and they couldnt use it, my grandfather would take it home and feed his chickens (he also lived in st clair shores). My mom would help her dad and she could keep any spare change she found!
Shores Theatre - VINTAGE SHOT
Shores Theatre - FROM DETROIT NEWS
Shores Theatre - FROM DETROIT NEWS
Shores Theatre - FROM DETROIT NEWS
Shores Theatre - Photo from early 2000's
Photo from early 2000's
Shores Theatre - Photo from early 2000's
Photo from early 2000's
Shores Theatre - 1937 ARTICLE
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