Lakewood Residents Don't Want Detroit Theatre to be a McDonald's (Updated)




Update II: Another step was taken yesterday in the march to build a new McDonald's on the site of the vacant Detroit Theater, bringing happy meals and increased traffic for all.

Micky D's got conditional approval for the site's building and signage from the Lakewood Architectural Board of Review (you can see the designs here, via Lakewood Patch) after retooling the building and traffic flow to alleviate concerns. Except the traffic concerns aren't really alleviated.

Yesterday's meeting was packed, and plenty of folks in attendance worried that Woodward, where McDonald's will have an exit and where the city is planning on removing a stop light, will become congested with cut-through seekers and hordes of Egg McMuffin cravers.

McDonald's Rep Michael Lewis thinks the company has listened carefully to Lakewood citizens, and that they will totally love it once the Golden Arches go up. The Sun News reports:

“We feel we have created something that they (community members) will embrace,” said Representative Michael Lewis in his opening remarks. “We have been here for 47 years and we feel this development is something we’ll be proud of for the next 47 years.”

An October meeting is scheduled with the Planning Commission where traffic issues will again be addressed, undoubtedly populated by plenty of residents who think Michael Lewis is full of shit.


Per the Sun Post-Herald, the next not entirely formal step by McDonald's to turn the Detroit Theatre location into a one-stop shop for processed beef-ish meat is coming soon: "The Detroit Theatre property, located at 16407 Detroit, has not yet been purchased by the fast-food chain, but company representatives will present a concept proposal to the city’s Architectural Board of Review during a public work session at 6:30 p.m. on July 14 in the Lakewood City Hall Auditorium, 12650 Detroit."

The public is welcome to attend, but it's a work session, so public comment will not be taken. There will be further meetings where residents can voice their displeasure at McDonald's and their support of a long vacant property that was never going to be anything else.


Happy meal purveyor McDonald's has zeroed in on the Detroit Theatre in Lakewood as its choice for a new location. The historic theater is held near and dear by Lakewood residents, or at least some portion of them, or maybe a lot of them but just to varying degrees. At least 150 of them cared enough to express their concerns at the Lakewood council meeting last night.

Given the opportunity, they would rather have the idle building stay idle and empty instead of having Ronald McDonald and the golden arches besmirch what they consider a local historic landmark, even if it's one whose immediate past is one of emptiness and lack of ideas/money for uses, and whose future looked to be the same.

Ideally would something locally owned go there? Sure. Will Lakewood put up a fight? Yep. But the idea this thing was going to be converted into a new theater, or that the empty theater would simply sit there for perpetuity merely to be gazed upon or to be the subject of distant love from people who romanticize and photograph empty buildings doesn't do much to convert the skeptics. Hopefully some compromise can be made.

Patch has video from the council meeting, which is a pretty good summary of where the city, McDonald's, and the people are on the issue. Check it out after the jump.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.