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College begins search for bidder to take over Egyptian Theatre as ‘arts and culture space’

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From the SCCC “request for proposals” for The Egyptian Theatre

If you have been thinking about operating a 600-seat theater on Capitol Hill, here is your chance. Tuesday, Seattle Central Community College is putting out the call for interested organizations to formally apply to take over The Egyptian Theatre a little more than a month after the Landmark chain walked away from renewing its lease at the former Masonic Temple that has operated as a venue for art house cinema since 1980.

CHS reported on SCCC’s plan to search for a new tenant here.

Tuesday’s “request for proposals” call reveals what will come next in the process — and how the next era for the Egyptian will be defined. “The space might continue as a cinema, or perhaps there’s a new mixed-arts use you can imagine for it,” the school’s statement on the request, below, reads.

A site tour for prospective applicants is slated for August 13th. The deadline for proposals is 2:00 PM, September 17, 2013.

According to the request documents, potential bidders will be evaluated on a set of factors with the heaviest weighting given to “project approach” — including dedication to continuing film festivals at the venue, focus on arts and performance and an organizational ability to “operate a theater.” Other factors include “key staff,” organizational experience and financial feasibility of the plan. “The respondent will provide a compensation/payment package or plan that will reduce SCCC’s annual overhead and operational costs for the facilities,” one document states. A school representative told CHS that the previous rent paid by Landmark had been in the ballpark of $7,500 per month plus another $900 in taxes. Additionally, according to the request documents, the building has an annual utilities cost around $26,000.

Applicants must also agree to “24 days use of public exhibition” plus “2 days for load-in/load out” for the annual SIFF activities at the venue plus make the space available to the school for between 10 and 15 days a year. SCCC says organizations may bid together as a group with a shared proposal for using the space.

Meanwhile, regarding that excellent idea for a bar you told us about the other night: “If the serving of alcohol is part of the proposal,” the documents note, “the proposal must include details of how the alcohol will be served and controlled.”

Request for Proposals

Egyptian Theatre Management

The Seattle Community College District VI (hereafter generally referred to as the Purchaser) is seeking responses from prospective, qualified management firms or organizations to privately manage, market, staff, maintain and make internal improvements to the college’s Egyptian Theatre, located at 801 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122.  The Egyptian Theater is a 600-seat cinema located in the heart of the Pike-Pine corridor on Capitol Hill. Seattle Central Community College, which owns the Theater, is seeking an organization or coalition of organizations to both program and manage the venue long-term as an arts and culture space. Successful respondents will present a vision of the venue that retains the historical character and traditional use of the theater, while also describing a forward-looking dynamic space that responds to the vibrant atmosphere of the neighborhood. The space might continue as a cinema, or perhaps there’s a new mixed-arts use you can imagine for it. Whatever the specific use, we hope that the next iteration of the Egyptian Theater will provide public benefit for College students, for our neighbors, and for patrons from all over the Seattle metro area.

The Egyptian Theatre, part of the larger structure formerly known as the Masonic Temple but now known as the Fine Arts Building, was constructed in 1915 by the Freemasons. The building was purchased by Seattle Central Community College in 1992, and has been a central film venue for the Seattle International Film Festival since 1980.  Total square footage of the venue is 16,130 square feet..

Site Visit:  Those interested in responding to this solicitation are strongly encouraged to attend a site visit on August 13, 2013, from 2pm-4pm.  The Conference will meet at the entrance to the Egyptian Theatre at 801 E. Pine St, Seattle, WA  98122.

Obtaining the RFP:  Copies of the Request for Proposals may be obtained from the Procurement Coordinator identified below.

Questions:  Any questions or requests for further information must be submitted in writing no later than August 27, 2013, to the Procurement Coordinator identified below.

Craig Bush

Procurement Coordinator

Telephone:  (206) 934-4139

Fax: (206) 934-5523


Submission Deadline:  Sealed responses (one original and four (4) copies), must be received in time to be stamped in by the Purchasing Department not later than 2:00 PM, September 17, 2013 at the address below:

Purchasing Department

Seattle Community College District VI

Siegal Center

1500 Harvard Avenue

Seattle, Washington 98122-3803

Rights Reserved:  The Purchaser reserves the right to waive as informality any irregularities in submittals, to reject any and all responses, to amend the solicitation as necessary, and to cancel the solicitation at its sole discretion.

UPDATE: A media release about the request added a bit more information about how the decision will be reached:

The college is seeking an initial lease period of 10 years, which may be extended in five-year increments. All proposals will be evaluated according to project approach, financial feasibility, cost effectiveness, and experience of the organization and its key staff. A commitment to hosting SIFF and other film festivals will be weighted most heavily. The evaluation panel will include members representing the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the City of Seattle, in addition to Seattle Central officials.

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