Five bucks used to get you into a first-run movie at 16409 Detroit Ave.
Now, it’s one step closer to getting you a Big Mac Extra Value Meal.
The Lakewood Architectural Board of Review conditionally approved McDonald’s building proposal to replace the landmark Detroit Theatre at city hall Thursday, providing they resize a sign, make the building’s exterior glass more transparent and provide more details on the building’s materials.
“This building has come a long ways,” ABR Chair Jeffery Foster said. “Is it ideal? No. But it is a great representation of how a company can adapt to a community’s needs.”
The approval came after the ABR sent the famous fast-food chain back to the drawing board in July, citing concerns over traffic flow and the building aesthetically fitting with city’s design.
Mike Lewis, developer for McDonald’s, said in his introduction the new plans arose from “many discussions” with the board.
“We feel that the end result is a building Lakewood will be proud of, and it will be a benchmark for the future of McDonald’s,” Lewis said.
In addition to moving the building closer to the street to align with other downtown storefronts, the plans contained several changes from the company’s original proposal, including:
- a side-by-side drive-thru, to prevent congestion;
- large, transparent windows along the street;
- black awnings over all street-bordering windows;
- an urban park, with perennial flowers, shrubs and trees;
- a rooftop green space.
ABR members did express some concerns over the size of the monument sign — the big red signs with the Golden Arches — being placed near the primary, Detroit Avenue entrance.
“It detracts from your building,” Carl Orban said. “It’s just going to be this big blob of red.”
Lewis said the monument sign was core to the McDonald’s brand. And at 8-feet tall, it was already shorter than the city’s 10-foot limit.
The board remained critical, as Foster reminded McDonald’s of their request for four more signs than current city ordinance allows.
“So that means you’ll have six signs,” he said. “That’s a lot of signs.”
Residents, however, were still unconvinced that traffic congestion at the Detroit-Woodward intersection will not become an issue, as the drive-thru exit is currently placed on Woodward Avenue — 80 feet from the intersection — and the city is planning to remove the stoplight.
“I’m four houses down on Woodward, and I can’t get out of my drive way as it is,” said Lisa Blackburn, of 4240 Woodward Ave. "How are we going to get out once this place opens?"
The theater, after 87 years of operation, closed its doors this January, after several years of declining attendance and rising cost of film companies. It has been on the market for $695,000, and had drawn little interest.