STORY BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS — PHOTO BY CHRIS FAULKNOR
The new owners of the old Boyne Theater say it could cost $1.2 million to rehabilitate the historic structure and get it open for business.
Representatives of the Round Lake Group presented their plan to renovate the building on Saturday April 29.
“We’ve always had a very near and dear sweet spot for this building,” said Rich Bergmann of the Round Lake Group. “Back in my younger younger years—50-some years ago—I saw multiple movies in here with my grandfather. My grandfather saw Harry Houdini here back in the ‘20s.”
He added, “So, this building has a lot of meaning not only to my family but to me personally.”
Bergmann said it will take a fair amount of time to complete the project but he would rather take the time to do the job right.
Bergmann and his associates then unveiled their plan for the theater as well as offering some history, potential costs and funding sources for it.
Bergmann said the look of the theater will resemble the 1950s art deco style. Though, he said, there will be plenty of planning, consulting historical experts, and consideration which goes into colors and finer details.
History of the Boyne Theater
The Bellamy Opera House was built in 1903 and 1904, and opened March 19, 1904.
The theater had a 500-seat main floor, with 250 seats in the balcony. It featured theatrical plays, music concerts, and stage performances.
On May 6, 1907, the theater opened with its first moving picture show.
In 1915 and 1916, the original opera house was cleaned and remodeled.
In 1925, Mr. Bellamy, the owner, died.
The theater was sold to Hylon Heaton in 1927.
The opera house’s name was changed to “Boyne Theater” in 1927.
In 1938, a new lobby entrance and hallway were built along with a concession area and restrooms.
In 1994, the theater’s main room floor was split into two screening rooms and a second story steel frame was added.
In 2006, the theater was closed to regular schedule showings and maintenance.
In June 2016, Round Lake Group LLC bought four parcels—216 to 220 South Lake St.—including the Boyne Theater.
The new owners have thoroughly cleaned out what they called “tons” of debris, furnishings, and deteriorating infrastructure.
They have met with the previous groups that began Boyne Theater renovation projects to better understand issues which prevented them from completing the theater’s restoration.
The new owners are meeting with other community groups, investors and operators of other Northern Michigan historic community theaters to see how they navigated the process and generated the funding to achieve their goals.
The new owners say their goal is to rehabilitate the theater and reopen it as a multi-purpose venue capable of hosting varying types of events like movies, live music, and theater events.
In their research, the new owners have looked at the Rialto Theater in Grayling, Lyric Theater in Harbor Springs, Garden Theater in Frankfort, and the Vogue Theater in Manistee.
Architectural services – $30,000
Mechanical engineering – $40,000
Structural engineering – $15,000
Historic building std/code consultant – $8,000
Total – $93,000
Replace roof/fire suppress – $250,000
Repair/replace siding/brick – $60,000
Egress/emergency exits – $15,000
Rain gutters/drainage – $8,000
Building front/facade – $50,000
Marquee rehab/rebuild – $15,000
Total – $398,000 to $450,000
Interior wall removal – $6,000
Engineering/balcony – $25,000
New flooring surface – $15,000
Interior walls/sound absorb – $12,000
Electrical/lighting – $20,000
New bathrooms – $30,000
Concession/hospitality area – $20,000
HVAC – $18,000
Total – $150,000 to $175,000
Seating & furnishings – $80,000
Projection system – $250,000
Sound system – $10,000
Total – $340,000
Energy efficiency upgrades
Abandon building tax credits
Historical building tax credits
Utility company incentives