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Advertising agency to move from Mundy Township into Capitol Theatre building in downtown Flint

large_Outside of the CapitolPTOriginal story by Melissa Burden for MLive
August 29, 2009

Flint, MI — One of downtown’s most unique buildings will have a new tenant this fall.

The Spencer Agency, a full-service advertising company that does work across the country, will relocate from offices in Mundy Township to space being renovated in the Capitol Theatre along East Second St.

“The whole front section next to the marquee will be ours,” said Joshua Spencer, a Flint resident and chief executive officer of the company he founded in 2001.

This is a peek at what The Spencer Agency’s renovated space inside the Capitol Theatre building in downtown Flint will look like.

Submitted rendering

Spencer said he plans to bring a dozen Genesee County area employees downtown this fall, possibly next month. Some workers will remain out of state and he hopes to expand his business to as many as 40 to 50 employees, Spencer said.

“Most of our clients are out of state now,” Spencer said. “Part of our goal of moving downtown is to grow Flint-based clients.”

The Spencer Agency is leasing about 1,500 square feet, including main floor and balcony space, said Troy Farah, co-owner of the Capitol Theatre.

Spencer, 29, who grew up in Flint and attended the University of Michigan-Flint, said he has been looking for the right space and settled on the Capitol Theatre because of its history, beauty and detail and because it fits the agency’s creative work.

“(We wanted) not to just bring another cubicle office to Flint, but to have something very impressive,” Spencer said.

Spencer said he hopes to work with U-M Flint to bring in communication students as interns to do public relations, marketing and production work and hopefully “hire young people and keep them here to work here out of Flint.”

Farah said he likes that The Spencer Agency is an existing business and that they wanted to renovate space into a “unique modern, cutting edge kind of design, which kind of ties into the some of the other things we’re trying to do downtown.”

The Capitol Theatre’s 30,000 square feet is about 80 percent occupied, Farah said. The building also houses businesses such as Red Ink Studios, H&R Block, a law firm, construction company and real estate development company.

U-M Flint recently concluded a feasibility study about using the Capitol Theatre for its music program. Farah said he would be talking with U-M

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Flint over the next few months about its level of interest in using the theater.

Renovating the theater, which was constructed in the late 1920s to resemble an Italian public square during the Renaissance, has been talked about for years. The theater last was used

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regularly in the mid 1990s.

D.J. Trela, dean of U-M Flint’s College of Arts and Sciences, said that renovation price tags came back at about $25 million but to build a new building of similar size would cost about $40 million.

“Internally we have to consider what level of priority we would place on this particular project,” Trela said of U-M Flint, which also has other building needs.

Farah, also a partner in Uptown Developments, said redevelopment of the Capitol Theatre likely will be pursued after other downtown projects are completed such as the Durant Hotel and Rowe Professional Services Co. building.

“I think the Capitol Theatre is probably the next project that we’ll make pop downtown,” Farah said.

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