The Guild 45th has closed its doors, shuttered the ticket window and cleared the marquee.
We were first made aware of this in a tip on Monday evening by Wallyhood reader, Griffin, alerting us that the “they just shut down the Guild 45th and Seven Gable theaters effective immediately. The staff found out as they showed up for work”.
I ventured up there on foot to see if there was a note on the door, or any indication of what the story was. I approached a man who appeared to be changing the locks. When I tried to say hello, he ducked inside. A woman came out to ask if she could help me. I asked about the situation and she said that it was closed for renovations, and she was unsure if it was external or internal renovations, but she mentioned it was probably both. It was an awkward exchange, and she seemed hesitant to say anymore. Wallyhood’s Jordan also popped his head in yesterday evening and spoke with the manager. He said that she also told him that they were closed for renovations, but he reflected that it seemed like she did not believe it herself. That was the same feeling I got. He said that even she, the manager, had been unaware of the closing until that evening.
The manager confirmed that the building was still owned by Landmark and gave Jordan the contact details for Laine Kaplowitz, Public Relations Director of the Landmark Theater group. I reached out to Laine by phone this morning. The number that was given was no longer in service. I reached out again via email and got a quick and friendly response.
“Thanks for reaching out. At this time, I can’t provide any additional info other than our statement. As soon as we have updates, I will let you know.”
I replied and asked what the official statement was and received the same statement that is posted on the Guild 45th website.
“The Seven Gables and Guild 45th cinemas have closed. Please stay tuned for further details on our renovation plans for each location. During the down time, we look forward to serving you at the Crest Cinema Center.”
I asked about the timeline of said renovations, and asked why the staff had been told so abruptly. I received no further details beyond the polite, carefully crafted statement. It was clear that my questions beyond official statement were not going to get an answer. The website reiterates the statement she gave me, and there are some movie listings and show times still up through the month.
The theater has been in disrepair, and in need of renovations. Renovations to bring it back to its original glory would be welcome. New seats without broken springs, a new snack bar, updated bathrooms, exterior renovations to the stucco and paint would bring back some of its original glory, but this feels different.
I have fond memories of walking up to the theater in the summer to take respite from those rare days of heat in the air-condition, and catch a movie. In the winter we would grab a bowl of ramen, and then walk over in the rain to catch a flick. Every year I have gone to watch the collection of Oscar nominated live action and animated shorts in succession to catch up before our annual friends Oscars watching dinner party. I love having a theater I can walk to that felt like it was for the neighbors.
The Seattle Times reports that the Seven Gables was recently proposed for landmark status which is being considered in a meeting with the Landmarks Preservation Board on August 16th. The article also states that the original Guild building was built in 1919 and the second building added in 1983. The Gables was built in 1925.
Why so mysterious? I will let you know if I find out any more details. I hope to have a chance in the future to say “See you at the movies!”
Isn’t requesting landmark status what you do when you want to develop the property? That way there is nothing stopping a buyer from investing? Seven Gables is right in the heart of the U District upzone.
Other article on this, nothing different http://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/movies/guild-45th-seven-gables-movie-theaters-closed-indefinitely/
Landmark status means the property can’t be torn down – I think the truth might be the opposite of what you are suggesting. A landmark designation to a building that could otherwise become a huge condo tower would cost the owners millions. They see that restrictions will be coming with that designation, and they may scramble to tear down, radically alter, or simply remodel without more restrictions before the designation takes effect.
What I am talking about is requesting it in the hopes that it will be rejected thereby putting nothing between your potential buyer and their multi-story dreams. Google Benaroya and Denny’s.
Gotcha. Doing it preemptively to remove the risk. Bold move, Cotton.
Wow, people really got excited about that Denny’s. That seems ridiculous. http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/landmarks-preservation-board-gives-owner-ok-to-tear-down-ballard-dennys-1/
The Ballard Denny’s was amazing, both outside and in. The condos that replaced the building are unremarkable…and do not serve stiff drinks.
Aw, I do miss it. I had plenty of fond memories there as well. But landmark status…
Nope. It is the opposite of that.
Losing the Guild will put a big hole (maybe literally) in the heart of the neighborhood. But it really has not been a great place to see a movie in recent years, especially the large theater, with its uncomfortable seats, sticky floors and uneven sound.
I saw “Jackie” there last December and the Guild’s heat wasn’t working. The chilly theater temperature certainly added atmosphere to a somber film which took place largely on the Eastern seaboard during wintertime, but it was not an ideal movie-going experience.
I hope Landmark ponies up the cash to make the Guild the great neighborhood venue it must have been 50 years ago.
Kudos to Christie for pursuing these non-answers.
Sad. I feel as tho with the no notice to employees and the unclear statements that it will be closed for ages… like Kitaro’s, Iron Bull.. leaving more dead faces along 45th.
Sad to see this. I bet they “renovate” by making it high-end condos with, perhaps, 1 small screen. Sad to see the way that Wallingford is going.
HALA: The Reckoning. Coming soon to a theater near you.
It looks like the landmark application has been withdrawn. Seven Gables is still nominated, but not Guild 45th:
I suspect they have decided to consolidate to Seven Gables and are looking to liquidate the Guild in order to raise cash. That would be consistent with the lack of outreach and the removal of the building from the landmarks preservation list.
I would doubt that. The 7G is the lone small business left on a swiftly developing block, and hasn’t seen much upkeep or care. It does not have the seats to make ends meet enough to keep that space (vs the development). Meanwhile, Landmark dropped some serious bucks on the Crest in the last couple of years and have moved their event screenings up there.
It is really sad how Wallingford can keep empty storefronts for years. The corner of 45th and Burke (where Fainting Goat is now) was dark for years, just for one.
A Rite-Aid would fit in perfectly where the Guild is. Think about the potential for convenience with four! drugstores within walking distance. Does anyone know anyone at Rite-Aid in PA HQ we can call?
I love your comment. Maybe the employees at CVS and a future Rite-Aid could have walkie talkies for their support group, having been deprived from all human contact.
One option if the land is to be developed would be to keep the current exterior and build two or three floors of housing above it on a cement pad between the theater and the housing to mitigate sound issues. Also the new floors should be set back from the sidewalk by perhaps ten feet to better keep the street level view of the building.
Anyone have Paul Allen’s email address…?
Wrote to him at Vulcan, maybe?
They had a story about this on NPR a couple of days ago, lamenting the fact that the Guild was closing and that too many of the old movie theaters have closed. I don’t think the Guild is coming back. Darn it.
Is there an update on this?
>Is there any word on this?
Who knows how to contact the rep for the location.
Update? Iron Bull? That burned out shell on 45th Kitaro’s? How about some good news for the New Year?