New apartments at former Studio 28 site bring hope

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — New apartments will take over much of the space formerly occupied by the fabled Studio 28 movie theater in Wyoming. 

Developers will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to celebrate the construction of the 226-unit complex that will be called “HŌM Flats at 28 West.”

The owner of the business neighboring the site says he looks forward to welcoming the new residents.

“I think it’s going to help the economy around here with that many people in the area,” Frank Vitale, owner of Frankie V’s Pizzeria & Sports Lounge, told News 8. “Even if you get 10, 15 percent of those people eating in my restaurant, that’s a major increase in sales.”

Frankie V’s has operated out of the building at 1420 28th Street SW for the past 19 years. Vitale has seen the area change dramatically during that time.

One of the most notable changes on the corridor was the closing of Studio 28 in 2008. After 43 years in business, the theater was closed and the building was later torn down.

For years, speculation and rumors about what would replace the theater swirled, but the site remained vacant and quiet.

Courtesy rendering of the HŌM Flats at 28 West project in Wyoming.

“It’s been so long, I don’t even remember to tell you the truth,” Vitale said with a laugh. “It was vacant for the longest time.”

The closure impacted sales significantly and Vitale admits he considered the possibility of moving his business out of the area.

“Some years of no growth or a decline,” Vitale said. “You felt it economically.”

Today his outlook is much brighter. 

After leasing the building for years, Vitale said the new development caused him to make a big decision.

“We’re the proud owners of the building now,” Vitale said. “We’re here to stay.”

Vitale said he has plans to do a major renovation on the building. He says the interior of the restaurant and kitchen will look entirely different. He plans to start the project next summer.

HŌM Flats is being constructed by Magnus Capitol Partners, a development firm based in New York. The owner of the company, a Zeeland native, and dignitaries from Wyoming will attend the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning. 

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