Plans to construct an Emagine movie theater in Hartland Township may still come to fruition, following the latest action from municipality officials.

The original plans for the theater, which would be built on a parcel north of M-59, east of US-23, received approval from the township earlier this year. The township then sought to establish a district for the parcel so that the theater would be eligible for tax abatement, but the district was rejected by county officials on Monday.

Emagine representatives had previously said without the abatement, the project could not be justified based on projected patronage. However the theater’s architect, CH Hartland LLC, requested to amend the project’s previously approved site plans- a request that came before the township’s Planning Commission Thursday. The modified plans include reducing the building’s size from 64,600 square feet to just over 55,130 square feet. Plans for the interior were also slightly altered by reducing the number of theaters from 10 to nine and creating smaller theaters. The amendments to the plan received unanimous approval from commissioners.

Township Planner Troy Langer says Emagine Entertainment believes the modified theater would fit the community’s demographic much better than the original plans would have. The plans also allow space for the company to expand the building in the future if the market is strong. Langer says Emagine hasn’t confirmed that they will move forward to the project’s pre-construction phase but that the pieces are in place if they choose to do so.

During the meeting, an Emagine representative told commissioners it was “serendipity” that led to creating a more efficient design for the theater. He declined to comment or confirm the company’s plans afterward. (DK)