United Artists Theater
The UA in photos


The United Artists remains one of the most depressing and disappointing buildings I have seen. I knew little about her when I first passed through her doors. At once I was excited with the amazing architecture and horrified by the destruction. I am particularly keen on Spanish styled buildings and I love the United Artists. Its entrance lobby is one of the finest interiors ever built in my opinion. Thus I can never describe how seeing those maidens shattered made my blood boil.

Thoughtless defacement.

A return trip probably wasn't for the best. I found the damaged interiors to be in even worse shape. More plaster had fallen to the floor. More vandalism was evident to the upper floors. I am distressed to find that the United Artists complex open to trespass and vandalism nearly every time I drive down Bagley. No sooner is an opening reported and sealed, then its reopened again. I find myself staying away, afraid to see how much further it has decayed.

I would lie if I said I didn't believe that the United Artists will be demolished. I feel that if something was going to happen, that if Illitch intended to renovate the building, then it would have happened by now, or the place would be better guarded. Not that renovation is impossible. The Detroit Opera House was in VERY bad shape when it was restored. These sort of projects have been successful. I hope to find that the United Artists is one of them.

The United Artists could be a very important element to downtown's recovery. The offices would be perfect lofts. The L shaped floors offer large windows all around with great views. The location near the Lodge and on Grand Circus Park is a plus. The theater space could become an entertainment venue with retail on the ground floor. Even if the theater wasn't restored to its original glory it could again become part of the living city. I've seen similar cases where the building was restored as a ruin, creating a most unique theater space.

I can only offer my opinions. Opinions which are based on my observations during my walkthrus. I have no knowledge of what the owners or city plan for the property. I do expect that in short time the property will be redeveloped. We will have to wait to see if that means renovation or demolition for the United Artists.

Copyright 1999 - 2004, David Kohrman
Last updated on March 19, 2004