Tuesday, April 27, 2010

UM-Flint Considers the Capitol Theatre

The Capitol Theatre seen from the rubble of the old Vogue store. (Photo courtesy of Grumkin)

Will UM-Flint rescue the Capitol Theatre?
Beta Mostafavi of The Flint Journal reports:
It’s possible Flint college students could someday rehearse, perform and study music in one of the city’s most treasured landmarks.

And the historic Capitol Theatre could be transformed into a music school with a recital hall, classrooms and elaborately ornate concert space, according to a feasibility study done for the University of Michigan-Flint.

But restoring the one-time entertainment hot spot famous for its Italian Renaissance architecture would have a hefty price tag of almost $25 million.

“I see this project as an attractive one that needs to be weighed against other institutional priorities,” UM-Flint’s dean of the college of arts and sciences, DJ Trela, said about moving the university’s music school into the 30,000-square-foot vintage building, which has been in the midst of restoration efforts for years.
Go here for some Capitol memories.


  1. As much as I love the Capitol, think of all the empty houses your could tear down or rehab with $25 million. Or how many cops you could hire. I know it's mixing apples and oranges, but is this the best way to help Flint?

  2. Sure, you have to prioritize, but UM-Flint would be getting a tangible return on this investment — a building for students and faculty, plus a new asset on the edge of their downtown campus. In other words, there's a logical reason to spend money rehab'ing the Capitol.

  3. On top of that, UM-Flint would be footing that bill, not the city. I highly doubt the university will be tearing down houses or hiring officers any time soon.

  4. From what I understand UM-Flint is one of the few things that is growing, brining people (young people) and generating economic activity in Flint. I can't think of a better way to vitalize the city and get people into those houses (the ones that are still safe)than this kind of Project- Construction Jobs to students new faculty and staff- I think it is great. And I always loved the Capitol Theater

  5. Come on UofM. Just do it all ready! It is the right thing to do! General Motors surly isn't going to. Mott is already tied up. It's UofM's turn again.

  6. I saw Blue Oyster Cult there one time in like '75 or '76. They were experimenting with live concerts at the time. I also saw lots of movies there as a kid with my mom. I fell asleep on her lap there watching the movie "Oliver" when it first came out. That's a long movie. I remember the weird kinda blue/green glow of the illuminated clock they used to have up front. How cool I probably wouldn't have ever have thought about again it wasn't for this blog. Thanks. Good luck with the restoration efforts.

  7. Thanks for the story and the photograph...a nice two 'fer. My grandmother took me to the Capitol and, of course, I was in tow when my mother shopped at Vogue. (And Maas!)

    Steve Vivian

  8. Why not kill two birds with one stone host basketball & volleyball games on stage.U of M-Flint could start varsity sports use capital for arena.Seems far fetched but L.I.U and U.T.-Arlington have done this in past (Texas Hall).Texas Hall had 200 to 300 events a year athletic offices could be housed in office space in the building.Maximize the use of this pretty building


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.