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Is It The End For The Seattle Cinerama Theater??

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  • #16
    You'd say that Vulcan would've the funds to keep the Cinerama theater running for decades...

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    • #17
      The Cinerama was a gift from Paul Allen to the community. It existed because he willed it. When you have this much money you can do what you want more or less and don't have to worry about turning a profit, board of directors be damned. Being a benign despot can be nice I'm sure. The end was inevitable. Once Allen died, Cinerama was doomed. The rest of the recent history was just noise. Think what it costs to operate, never mind amortizing the equipment cost. It can't possibly make real money as a commercial theatre. Nor as a rep or art house. We just have to enjoy the memory of a lovely interlude. Film done right.

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      • #18
        We had another idea about the closed Seattle Cinerama Theatre, how about above air rights like they do all the time in New York City. Vulcan can sell the old Martin Cinerama building to a new developer to build on top as long as they keep the Cinerama Theatre going underneath.

        The curved screen cinema won't be torn down and new apartments or a condos can be built on the floors above.

        I think the late Paul Allen would approve of building above rather then destroying the Cinerama and tearing her down.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Sam Chavez View Post
          The Cinerama was a gift from Paul Allen to the community. It existed because he willed it. When you have this much money you can do what you want more or less and don't have to worry about turning a profit, board of directors be damned. Being a benign despot can be nice I'm sure. The end was inevitable. Once Allen died, Cinerama was doomed. The rest of the recent history was just noise. Think what it costs to operate, never mind amortizing the equipment cost. It can't possibly make real money as a commercial theatre. Nor as a rep or art house. We just have to enjoy the memory of a lovely interlude. Film done right.
          What I don't really understand though is that Allen left it more or less to its own devices after his death. You'd say that he planned for some kind of continuity, probably knowing that the thing would require external sources of funding for the foreseeable future. You'd also say that Vulcan should've sufficient resources to do so.

          Maybe some people don't really look beyond their own existence, but from what I heard about the man, he doesn't look like the type that would go out without at least leaving a plan for those that inherit the responsibility of his estate, even if his estate doesn't technically own the theater.

          Disclaimer: This is my own interpretation based on the stuff I've read on-line about it. I didn't do any in-depth research, I may be misinformed.

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          • #20
            Yeah, normally a benefactor will set up a foundation to ensure the financial solvency of the thing they want to continue to exist. I'm guessing that wasn't done for the Seattle Cinerama.

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            • #21
              Screw the Seahawks! Sell that off and use the $$$ to run the Cinerama for the rest of eternity. Football is such a big waste in many ways.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Steve Guttag View Post
                Yeah, normally a benefactor will set up a foundation to ensure the financial solvency of the thing they want to continue to exist. I'm guessing that wasn't done for the Seattle Cinerama.
                Paul Allen's decision not to give the Cinerama to Seattle may have been influenced by his experience with his proposed Seattle Commons project:

                In his later years, Mr. Allen was at the forefront of transforming Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood from a row of parking lots and strip malls into a major business district.

                In the 1990s, Mr. Allen paid for 11.5 acres in the area in hopes of donating it for an urban park project called the Seattle Commons. But voters turned the idea down twice, most recently in 1996, so he spent the next decade gobbling up more land, totaling 60 acres, through Vulcan’s development arm.

                Former Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said Allen, ironically, was pilloried by some in Seattle for the intense and disruptive development of South Lake Union on land the mogul wanted to see become a park.

                “He had this great vision for a fabulous park,” Rasmussen recalled. “But it did require public investment and voters didn’t support it.”

                With Mr. Allen holding a rare, large swath of connected land in a major city, and Amazon looking to expand in an urban environment, they teamed on a building spree in the neighborhood. Vulcan built Amazon’s initial headquarters, announced in 2007, as well as many of its subsequent buildings, in what grew to become the biggest urban corporate campus in America.

                Today, Vulcan Real Estate has developed more than 10.5 million square feet – the equivalent of about 15 skyscrapers – across 46 projects, recently including housing in South Seattle and offices in Bellevue. In addition to Amazon, it’s building the Seattle offices for Google and Facebook and built the Allen Institute, all in South Lake Union.
                https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle...en-dies-at-65/

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                • #23
                  What I conclude from that article: Looks like the funds to run some vanity project like the Cinerama should be a drop in the bucket for something like Vulcan...

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                  • #24
                    Why is there this assumption that the theater was a money pit? True, under neglectful management the theater lost money with A certain Multiplex Company, but one of the recent iterations of the Seattle Cinerama saw steady growth under careful, passionate independent operation and over the last half decade consistently reported as one of the highest performing screens in the country.

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                    • #25
                      It's probably true that Seattle Cinerama was profitable, maybe even extremely profitable.

                      At the same time, that real estate could probably earn many times more money if it was converted to apartments or offices. Seattle is one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the country.

                      Many great cinemas have suffered similar fates because of this, sadly.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Steve Guttag
                        Yeah, normally a benefactor will set up a foundation to ensure the financial solvency of the thing they want to continue to exist. I'm guessing that wasn't done for the Seattle Cinerama.
                        That may be, but even that isn't always enough to safeguard the long-term existence of the organization. The Egyptian is a prime example: given to a nonprofit by the city with the intention of securing its long-term future as an historical landmark, operating for its original purpose (a movie theater). Two decades later, and thanks mainly to that nonprofit not having had a successful development strategy during that time, it's sold to a for profit, which is currently promising to carry on the good work, but is under no legal obligation to do so.

                        As for Seattle, that property may have been attractive to residential developers a couple of months ago, but now, who would want to rent an apartment or buy a condo in a city where an armed militia might suddenly put roadblocks at the end of your block and extort money from you at gunpoint for going to and from your home? Heard a report on a talk radio show on Friday, about a study that had crunched data on Zillow and Redfin, and found that asking prices for rental apartments in Minneapolis, Seattle, LA and Atlanta had dropped by 15-20% in the last month. They used Dallas, Miami, Phoenix and one other city (can't remember) for control - i.e. metros where no significant criminal activity related to protests took place - and found that rents there were essentially unchanged.
                        Last edited by Leo Enticknap; 06-21-2020, 10:25 AM.

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                        • #27
                          It would be up to said foundation to set the terms of the things continuance. I don't know if the Egyptian falls into that category if it was state owned/controlled. Even a foundation, if well set up, can run into insolvency, particularly if bad board members don't act in its best interest or squander its resources.

                          For someone like Paul Allen, it would have been simple enough to set up such a foundation for the sole purpose of continuing the theatre as a theatre and allowed to spend x-amount, percentage or otherwise, on its upkeep (technologically, and physical plant)...etc. to ensure its continued existence...even if theatres fail as an industry. It is a building and PA had an enormous financial resource to work with. If that is what he really wanted, that building could have survived as a cinema indefinitely.

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                          • #28
                            Which all boils down to a development strategy. Even if a nonprofit/foundation starts life with a humongous endowment, lack of proactive planning to safeguard it, and develop reliable, long-term income streams (including developing new ones in anticipation of older ones drying up) will eventually erode it and threaten the organization's existence.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Leo Enticknap View Post
                              Which all boils down to a development strategy. Even if a nonprofit/foundation starts life with a humongous endowment, lack of proactive planning to safeguard it, and develop reliable, long-term income streams (including developing new ones in anticipation of older ones drying up) will eventually erode it and threaten the organization's existence.
                              Sure, but Paul Allen died in October of 2018, if there would be such a foundation, it would be a badly funded or very badly run operation if the money would've run out already.

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