is a beloved Farmington Hills destination. Itâs been around since the early 1980s, founded by the late pharmacist Marvin Yagoda, and is now run by his son, Jeremy.
But now its longtime location could be demolished under a proposed redevelopment project in Hunterâs Square, the plaza on 14 Mile and Orchard Lake Road where the museum is located.
At , David Ortner, senior vice president of development at RPT Realty, the New York-based developer that owns Hunter Plaza, said they are negotiating with Meijer to open a grocery store in the plaza.
âAre you tearing down everything from the Marvelous Marvinâs sign north?â asked John Trafelet, vice chair of the commission, during that meeting.Â He was referring to the iconic clock sign that guests drive under to park by Marvinâs.
âThatâs the intended plan,â replied Ortner.
âThis is not what I initially heard the plans wereâ¦ I donât know what we will do or where [we] would even go!â Yagoda posted to , sharing a picture of the proposed development.
The plan moves forward
During a meeting on Thursday, the Farmington Hills Planning Commission unanimously approved recommending the proposal Â to City Council. They also attempted to recommend the museum be offered another location in the development, but City Attorney Tom Schultz said they donât have the authority to do that.
that the Planning Commission âconsidered four factors before making a recommendation to the council: the extent the plans comply with city regulations, the cityâs master plan, the community benefit of the project and community feedback.â
The decision was met with displeasure from the crowd that gathered in the standing room, with some leaving the room and others shouting âshame on you,â You guys are terrible, you guys suck,â and more, according to the Detroit News.
During this meeting, Ortner confirmed an earlier statement from Meijer spokesperson Frank Guglielmi to that the Meijer would not affect Marvins, saying in part, âThe proposed Meijer thatâs been in discussion that the community is familiar with, this is a smaller grocer format. It is only on the north end of the project. Itâs not in any way impeding on Marvinâs or that portion of the development.â
He also added that RPT Realty intended to work with Marvinâs on a location.
ââ¦[W]e have a longstanding relationship with Marvinâs â theyâve been a tenant at the center for a long time. Weâve been in regular communication with them,â he said. âWeâll certainly work with them and look for opportunities to maintain their presence at the center, whether in their current space or a different spaceâ¦We certainly appreciate their presence at the center.â
Yagoda was not present at Thursdayâs meeting due to a trip to the , which hosts an annual trade show where Marvinâs acquires and commissions new pieces for its collection.
As of early Friday afternoon, called âSave Marvinâs Marvelous Mechanical Museum!â has received 31,900 signatures and counting.
In addition to traditional pinball and arcade games, Marvinâs includes unique coin-operated animatronics (some created by Marvin himself), including âThe Disgusting Spectacle,â a depiction of a man picking his nose; âThe Brain,â a fortune-telling mad scientist; and a miniature of the Spanish Inquisition.
Thereâs also oddities like the Cardiff Giant, a replica created by P.T. Barnum. It has been featured on the History Channel and Antiques Roadshow on PBS. Itâs also the inspiration behind indie band Tally Hallâs debut album Marvinâs Marvelous Mechanical Museum.
This post has been updated with new information.Â