The Strand opened in March 1921 with ornate ceilings and walls,showingpopular plays and movies to thousands of visitors at atime.Many years ago, there were eight theaters in the thriving cityof Pontiac,which boomed as the county seat as the hometown ofGeneral Motors Corp. andother automotive maker plants.

However, over the decades, the city started to fall apart asresidents movedinto the suburbs and lakefront properties. Pontiacnow has one of thehighest unemployment rates in the Detroit area,and the downtown has manyvacant buildings. Tenants say they don'tlike the high crime rate anddifficulties in dealing with citybureaucracy.

In one of the main rebirth efforts, the city, through thePontiac GrowthGroup, now owns the property and is engaged indemolition to build anothertheater venture, said Kim Johnson,president of the Strand Theater Center.

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