An entertainment complex that takes movies and bowling up a few notches - leather, club seating instead of hard, fiberglass chairs; real dishes instead of styrofoam and paper; restaurant wait service; and high tech bells and whistles - opened Monday in Royal Oak.
The Emagine Theater and Star Lanes in Royal Oak is Emagine's sixth theater in Michigan and the first in a downtown Main Street location (Main St. and 11 Mile, near the Main Art Theatre). it's also their most ambitious.
Inside 71,000 square feet of space are 10 movie screens and 16 bowling lanes, and a bar and restaurant that serves lunch and dinner at its own tables, or to bowlers and movie-goers.
The latest in technology will operate on the lanes and in the theaters, including Smartphone movie tickets and more. There are also four electric car charging stations and solar power panels on the top of the buildings, which is LEED certified, says Ruth Daniels, senior vice president of marketing for Emagine Entertainment and Star Lanes.
"It's the greenest entertainment venue in town," Daniels says.
The $19-million project was christened with three charity preview parties last weekend. At least $200,000 was raised and benefited the Judson Center and Gleaners Community Food Banks, she says. Separately, the business created 100 jobs.
"It's not your typical bowling alley," Daniels says.
In fact, the company doesn't call them bowling alleys. They're bowling lanes. And banish any thoughts of stale, throwback bowling joints. The Royal Oak location follows a nationwide trend to step up bowling and movies in competition for the consumers discretionary entertainment dollar.
Daniels says the downtown location was sought after, and she sees the company pursuing other downtown locations, possibly for a theater or bowling lanes on their own or together.
Royal Oak is an ideal locationů."It's a great place to hang out," she says. "If we can get the right space we need we would definitely look for another downtown area."
Emagine's other theaters are in Woodhaven, Canton, Novi, Rochester Hills, and Birch Run.Source: Ruth Daniels, senior vice president of marketing, Emagine Entertainment, Star Lanes
Writer: Kim North Shine