Abandoned Lansing Mall Cinema to become Michigan's first Black-owned film studio

click to enlarge The former Lansing Mall Cinema has been abandoned since 2014. - Screengrab/Google Maps
Screengrab/Google Maps
The former Lansing Mall Cinema has been abandoned since 2014.

A former movie theater in Lansing is on track to become what is being billed as Michigan's first Black-owned film studio.

Abandoned since 2014, the Lansing Mall Cinema at 921 Mall Drive W. is under construction to become Greenwood District Studios, MLive reports. The name comes from Tulsa, Oklahoma's Greenwood District, aka "Black Wall Street," which was burned down by white residents 100 years ago.

The project is the brainchild of standup comedian and director Amaru, a 47-year-old Kalamazoo native who worked in Los Angeles.

"As you’re in the business, you begin to get tired of waiting," Amaru told MLive of his time making connections in L.A. "Waiting for people to follow through is not what I like to do."

The 27,000 square-foot space will house video and audio production facilities, as well as the Funny is Funny comedy club, which is already hosting open mic nights on Tuesdays. Construction is expected to be fully complete by the end of 2022.

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