Vogue Demolition Paves Way to Restoration

Manistee, Michigan —  Thousands of starved Manistee County area movie-goers are taking a big leap toward appeasing their appetites with the interior demolition of the Vogue Theatre, supervised by the construction management company for the Vogue Theatre’s restoration, 45th Parallel Construction.

“We are gutting the building’s interior right down to the base exterior walls, said Steve Steimel of 45th Parallel Construction.  “We’re removing walls, ceilings, insulation, conduit, plumbing, electrical lines, and the boiler in the basement.  This is a stem to stern demolition.  We’re even removing the concrete sloping floor in the theatre to make way for the new slope in the design that will accommodate two theatres on the lower level.”

Steimel said that the demolition project will last 4 to 5 weeks.

“We made sure the historic and unique elements of the Theatre will be left unblemished by the demolition,” said Cyndy Fuller Chair of the Board of the Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee, the nonprofit created to oversee restoring and reopening the Theatre.  “We saved doors, turrets, light fixtures, the ticket booth and much more.  A team combed over the building to ensure that we preserved and protected the architectural features that will make the Vogue such a fabulous experience for movie-goers.”

A subcontractor, Grand Traverse Construction, is handling the demolition, working under Steimel’s direction at a cost of $83,486.

“Grand Traverse Construction has the experience and capabilities that were ideal for this unique demolition project,” Steimel said.  “They were low bidders on the project and have the trained staff to do the work, including the safe removal of potential hazards, like lead based paint.  When they are finished, we can be confident that we will have a safe environment and a solid base to restore and rebuild the Vogue in a way that will serve thousands of people for generations to come.”

“Understandably, the demolition is attracting lots of interest,” said Cyndy Fuller.  “Hundreds of people have volunteered their resources and time to restore the Vogue.   We hope that everyone will understand that, for everyone’s safety, we simply cannot allow visitors onto the site during the demolition period.”

“It appears that Grand Traverse Construction was just an ideal fit for several reasons,” said Vogue Capital Campaign manager Steve Brower.  “They were so impressed with the project and its importance to our county, our visitors and northern Michigan that they gave back $5,000 as an in-kind donation to support the restoration.   It’s exciting to see the demolition underway, an effort made possible by the outpouring of donations from over 320 individuals, companies and foundations.  If anyone doubts that the restoration is going to happen, give us a call and we’ll make sure to give you a first-hand tour once the demolition work is done.”

Steimel says that the demolition is also important to fine tune the restoration work and costs.

“Our construction specifications and costs have been based on our best assumptions about things like load bearing walls and the superstructure of the building,” he said.  “The demolition will take us right down to the base of the exterior walls, letting us confirm our plans for restoration.”

Have they run into any unexpected challenges or unexplained occurrences during the demolition?

“Not yet,” Steimel says, “but stay tuned.  This is a very special building with a look and a feel that is all its own.  We think that any of our surprises, unexplained or not, will be kind to our workers who are setting the stage for a truly great theatre experience.”

The restoration of Manistee’s Vogue Theatre was announced in February 2011 following the purchase of the facility by the City of Manistee’s Downtown Development Authority.  The facility was then sold to the Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee that is overseeing restoration.  The Capital Campaign to raise charitable donations and grants began in October 2011.  About $650,000 has been raised thus far toward the goal of $2.5 million.  Charitable donations to help restore the theatre are being accepted by the Manistee County Community Foundation.  More information is available online atwww.manisteefoundation.org.