Saginaw Proves That if You Build it They Will Come

Posted In: Culture, Community Profiles,   From Issue 802   By: Robert E Martin

26th December, 2014     0

The continued evolution of Saginaw’s blueprint towards the future as a flagship community of medical services and an entertainment  & cultural destination point is rapidly coming into reality with several key developments coming into fruition in 2014. 

Cinema lovers were treated to a state-of-the-art IMAX theatre when Goodrich Theatres opened their Quality 10 GDX digital theatres in the winter of 2014, offering ten digital theatres all capable of showing the increasingly popular 3D format, with three of the screens offering Premium Large Format. (PLF).  GDX stands for Giant Digital Experience and the new venue features a main GDX auditorium with a screen that is 70 feet wide and 38 feet tall. Two smaller PLF screens are 56 feet high and 30 feet tall; and all three of the PLF theatres feature stadium seating and state of the art Dolby Atmos sound systems.

According to President & Owner  Bob Goodrich, the new theatre complex is the equal of any movie facility in the United States in terms of state-of-the-art quality. “You couldn’t go to New York City or Sydney, Australia and find a better theatre with the sound and size that we have here in Saginaw.”

The major news for Downtown Saginaw was the long anticipated opening of the Bancroft & Eddy buildings, along with the Bancroft Martini Bar & Coffee Shop. Thanks to efforts of Lakeshore Management, based out of Cleveland, Ohio, both the Bancroft & Eddy buildings are now fully restored; and since its Fall Opening the Martini Bar has been filled nightly with patrons from all over the region experiencing the big-city ambiance of the faithful restoration effort.

The $6-million dollar project is but the latest in a renovation effort for Downtown Saginaw that has also witnessed the renovation of The Temple Theatre, the new First Merit Event Park, the Michigan Works Building, and the newly opened Red Room at the Dow Event Center.  This in addition to the opening of the new Central Michigan University Medical School have created a situation where downtown is now an active hub of entertainment and commerce – a situation one would not have thought possible a decade ago.

Hamilton Street also finally got a much-needed street resurfacing this summer, replete with new sidewalks and café seating for the block that houses Jake’s Steak House, JB Meinberg’s, Woody O’Briens and Retro Rocks.  While the renovation was long overdue, reviews of the endeavor were mixed, with many lamenting the ‘dumbing down’ of the project, given the lack of any tree plantings and simple concrete slabs replacing the signature ‘red-brick’ walks that were a defining emblem of Old Town.

The Saginaw Art Museum also got an immaculate face-lift, with a $2.5 million renovation budget that according to Director Stacey Gannon, “speaks to the confident of people in the strategic plan developed for the museum that allowed these goals to be met.”  Included in the renovation project was an investment of $250,000 that went into conserving, restoring, and cleaning the art from the museum’s permanent collection.  Presently the museum has close to 2000 pieces in their permanent collection, with a strong assemblage of 18th, 19th, and 20th century American & European artwork, including an Egyptian vessel estimated to be 4500 years old.

Pit & Balcony Theatre and Bay City Players also spruced up their acts this year, with P&B undergoing new awnings, a new paint job, and a new logo to accompany the elevation of their reputation as one of the premier community theatrical organizations in the state; while Bay City Players renovated their theatre for better viewing, along with a more expansive & versatile stage for blocking productions.  Bay City Players brought the magic of Stephen Sondheim to the stage with a deft rending of Company; while Pit & Balcony hit artistic high-water with their May production of the controversial & cutting-edge musical Spring Awakening, along with the first ever community theatrical production of the Broadway musical Hands on a Hardbody.

Finally, Fullterton Tool, Co., was the first tenant to break ground at the 231-acre shovel-ready Great Lakes Tech Park in Thomas Township. Fullerton’s newest addition will be a 35,000 square foot facility called Fullerton West. The expansion is expected to generate $8 million in new private investment and add 58 new jobs.


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