Lifestyle, News

Closure of Columbia City Cinema Leaves Some Hard Feelings

Seattle Times (RVP news partner):

When the Columbia City Cinema closed after a seven-year run, it left thousands in wasted donations and unpaid loans as the fourth independent theater to run into trouble under its now-bankrupt operator.

The vacant building can’t be occupied because when Paul Doyle remodeled it, he did so without permits. Fire inspectors found missing sprinklers and alarms, burned-out exit lights and flammable debris.

“It’s basically a big matchbox,” said Seattle Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith. “Once you know that, if something ever does happen … ”

So the two-story, three-screen theater sits empty in the middle of the summer movie season. More.

Photo/do communications

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8 comments on “Closure of Columbia City Cinema Leaves Some Hard Feelings

  1. It is really disappointing the Cinema could not survive. I think Paul is a good guy who followed his heart. He is also responsible for it’s failure and some of the bad decissions made along the way. His business at a time of recession was supported by the community at large. We were all challenged at the same time in our own way. We all wanted the cinema to survive. It was a very important part of the community. I hope the suggestion of a California investor is true although our community is best served through local talent. Let’s hope that the cinema is brought back to life with owners who make it a priority to connect with the surrounding community, have a viable business model and acts in a manner that is consistant with being labeled a good citizen of the community. I have no doubt the community will reward the new ownership well and embrass it’s efforts.

  2. If I had known what I know now, I would have boycotted this establishment. Regulations for public safety exist for a reason. Period.

    Because of who he knows, Mr. Doyle was able to get a community development loan (he has to pay that back, right?), donations and in kind support. All of those efforts were for nothing, and he continues to blame others.

  3. I would like to know what happened to all the money that was donated by the community in the final months of the cinema. Was it returned? If not, where did it go? Is anybody looking in to this?

  4. I doubt he has to pay the community loan back. He probably set up a llc and ran the finances through that. The llc is non solvent – i.e. can’t pay their bills – so bankruptcy is declared and any remaining assets sold off. It is interesting that there was a “sale” at the theater I believe last weekend or the week before. Not a good thing in that legally he should not have been selling off assets in anticipation of bankruptcy.

  5. Now that the Columbia City Cinema is closed, where can I go to have my life put in danger for such a fair price?

  6. All of the “culturally sensitive” individuals concerned about selective building code laws should try to remember that as soon as one steps into 99% of all other countries, many such anal retentive laws do not exist and people live just fine without them. Where is the cultural flexibility to allow something different to co-exist and thrive? Or is it more important to protect all other species, and demand complete allegiance to the privately-purchased code of law, for your own kind?

  7. @sydney,
    Yes, I lived in one of those countries, for 4 years. And I knew people who had children die due to totally preventable injuries, I saw high rates of disease and cancer due to crappy working conditions, and I saw a country with a life expectancy of maybe 20 years less than what we have. Don’t get me started on the aftermath of a simple earthquake in which buildings that did not conform to code (due to corrupt business practices) pancaked and killed hundreds unnecessarily. And I saw some really great things too.

    I do think it’s possible to regulate things to death, and I do think it’s possible to regulate the fun out of stuff. But this guy started his venture by taking out $100K on his credit cards. Seriously, what kind of madman does that, it’s a totally unacceptable and unrealistic business plan. I think that alone indicates how reckless he was willing to be in order to make this thing happen.

    I loved the theater, my kids loved it, we all went. But I’m not feeling bad for this guy that it got shut down.

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