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Thrilled about theaters

Jeff Konczak, the developer behind the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building and Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, Biggby Coffee, and Harborside Mall, has announced his purchase of both the State Theater and former Royal Knight Theater buildings in downtown Alpena and his intentions to renovate those buildings to their original splendor.

With backing from Northland Area Federal Credit Union, The State, which opened as the Maltz Opera House, will be returned to a live performance venue and made to look as it did in the early 1900s, Konczak told reporter Steve Schulwitz for a recent story. The Royal Knight, which at one time was a downtown J.C. Penney, will also be restored and will open again as a three-screen movie theater.

The State closed with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s earliest coronavirus lockdown orders in the spring and hasn’t reopened since. The Royal Knight closed in 2018.

We are excited by this news. As we’ve written in this space before, Alpena loves the arts, and we love our history, and to see a project mesh our two loves is thrilling.

We hope Konczak converses with the leaders of our existing great theaters, the Thunder Bay Theatre and the Civic Theatre, and comes up with a plan that adds to our live performance options without hurting what we already have.

If that happens, this is only good news.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)

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