Capitol Hill's Egyptian Theatre set to close in 2 weeks

SEATTLE -- Seattle's Egyptian Theatre is in its final two weeks of shows. The Capitol Hill theater was the launching point for the Seattle International Film Festival, but it appears the economics of running a single screen theater didn't pencil out.

Built as a Masonic temple in 1915, leased by the Landmark Theatre chain in 1989, bought by Seattle Community College in 1992, it's been showing movies for most of its 98-year life.

"It's a Capitol Hill staple," sad Ritu Shah-Burnham, general manager of the nearby zpizza. "It's a classic, it's got edgy grunge written all over it. I don't know why it has to leave."

The reason is economics. Landmark has chosen not to renew its lease of the large, 600-seat theater.

"The economics of running a single screen theater are very difficult," said Jeff Keever with Seattle Community College.

Keever says it's not going to become a new multiplex, but as for what's next for the building?

"We are not really sure yet," he said. "There is a lot interest, it seems, in that venue, so it's good for us."

At Mia's Off-Broadway Cafe, where many of the theater employees eat, the mood was somber.

"The people I know is very, very close," said Mia Lawrence. "The people -- I really like them (and) they are going away. It's kind of so sad."

The theater is an anchor for the Seattle Film Festival and the business it brings to zpizza.

"I think it works the way that it is -- having a single theater makes it unique," Shah-Burnham said. "It's sad -- I hope somebody takes it over."

It didn't work for Landmark, but if someone else wants to give a try, the school is entertaining offers.

The last movie will be shown on June 27.