The theater transformation brings the best of the past together with modern, cutting-edge technology for a state-of-the-art cinematic experience.

From picture-perfect recreations of the original carpet from 1942 to updated movie projection and sound systems, every detail recaptures the State Theatre’s Art Deco magic while ensuring the best film-going experience available.


  • Reconfigured floor plan to fit 4 new theaters
  • Interior design of lobby, theaters, and common spaces
  • 24,500 sf renovation; 1,940 sf addition
  • Originally built in 1942 by Howard C. Crane
When the work is finished, the Michigan Theater Foundation's combination of historic preservation and screening capacity will be unparalleled in the nation.

Russ Collins, Executive Director and CEO 
Michigan Theater Foundation

Securing Ann Arbor's Iconic Art-house

Ideas for converting the State into a variety of other uses had come and gone over the years, but in 2013, the concept of demolishing the balcony-level theaters and constructing office lease space in their place was becoming a very real possibility. The Michigan Theater Foundation moved to action, and proposed to buy the balcony-level theaters, mezzanine lounge, and the ground-level entrance lobby outright, seeing the opportunity not only to save the iconic local landmark but also to create a unique venue which would truly expand their ability to showcase great independent and art-house film.

The Best Art House in the Country

The Michigan Theater Foundation engaged O’Neal Construction and Quinn Evans Architects in a design-build arrangement to realize the Michigan Theater’s goals of creating premiere cinema venue, improving patrons’ movie-going experience, and celebrating the iconic features of the State Theater. QEA collaborated closely with O’Neal and the Michigan Theater to develop a highly-efficient floor plan featuring four screens with state-of-the-art sound and projection systems, while minimizing impacts on the building’s existing structure.