The Capitol Theatre in Flint, Michigan, originally opened in 1928 as a W.S. Butterfield movie house. The ornate theatre was designed by architect John Eberson in the historic atmospheric style. Eberson’s theatres combined a domed ceiling, meant to evoke the night sky, with arches, trellises and balconies to create the illusion that the audience was seated in a European garden. Movies, stage shows and concerts entertained audiences until the building changed hands in 1976. The new owner hosted musical acts such as Ray Charles, AC/DC and John Mellencamp until the venue closed in 1996.

In 2016, Flint-based Uptown Reinvestment Corporation began a $32.5 million renovation to return the historic theatre and adjacent office space to their original glory. Construction of the theatre was completed in 2017. The 1,600 seat theatre was updated with state-of-the-art technology and modern amenities. Management of the theatre was directed by the Flint Cultural Center Corporation which also manages the nearby Whiting Theatre. The project resulted in the rehabilitation of over 20,000 sq feet of commercial and retail space. 

Project Financing
The project has been a partnership between community organizations, municipalities and private investors. Old National Bank, through its tax credit investment division, ONB Community Equity, invested nearly $4.4 million in the rehabilitation which will generate historic tax credits. Old National also provided construction financing for the rehabilitation. Contributions included nearly $15 million from the C.S. Mott Foundation, $4 million from the Hagerman foundation, $500,000 from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and $100,000 from the Isabel Foundation. Other sources of funding included an investment from the Michigan Strategic Fund through its Community Revitalization Program, and a loan from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. 

By applying its expertise in Historic Tax Credit investing, construction finance and public private partnerships, Old National helped to navigate the complex financing structure that included multiple layers of equity, grants and loans, each with unique characteristics. Ultimately, the bank was able to craft an investment and lending program that was simple and effecting for theatre developers. 

The renovation of the Capitol Theatre has been and will be extremely beneficial to the City of Flint. In addition to rehabilitating a unique historic landmark, the renovated theatre provides a unique entertainment option for residents and visitors alike. The project generated new jobs for area residents and serves as an economic catalyst for additional investment in the city. 

Rehabilitation Highlights

Project Budget - $32.5 Million
Theatre Capacity - 1,600 Seats
Office & Retail Space - 25,000 Sq ft
Sources of Funding - 9

Tax Credit Team

Marty Richardson - Old National 
SVP, Capital Markets

Chip Windisch - Old National 
SVP, Capital Markets

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