Harvard Exit office+restaurant transformation half done as developers search for tenants

(Images: Dovetail General Contractors)

Work to transform the Harvard Exit theater into a restaurant, bar, and office space is well underway, but developers are still on the hunt for businesses to occupy those spaces.

Developer Scott Shapiro of Eagle Rock Ventures tells CHS that renovations to the longtime E Roy movie theater are about half way complete. Construction is expected to finish in the first quarter of 2017, after which tenant improvements will start.

A restaurant or cafe will likely take over the building’s 1,500 square-foot lobby, while Shaprio envisions a bar moving into the 2,200 square-foot basement. The rest of the building will become “creative offices,” including the two 5,000 square-foot theater spaces and two upper floors of existing offices.


“Woman’s Century Club, Seattle, ca. 1925″ (Image: MOHAI)

The architect on the project is Capitol Hill-based S+H Works. The Harvard Exit is part of the Harvard-Belmont Historic District and plans are for the 1925-built masonry exterior to remain intact. The Harvard Exit name will also live on into the building’s new era as Shapiro plans to keep it tied to the new development.

Back in 2015 Shapiro hoped to have tenants moved in by early 2016, but said permitting delays at the city held up the project for several months. Shapiro acquired the property in 2014 for $2.35 million and closed the theater in 2015, eventually bringing an end to the theater’s 46-year run.


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6 thoughts on “Harvard Exit office+restaurant transformation half done as developers search for tenants

  1. Just breaks my heart to see that. Why would you buy a theater if you didn’t want a theater? And now it’s destroyed and we can never get it back.

  2. It was a great community asset (I live just a couple blocks west of the theater), but at least the beautiful building is being maintained, and actually restored to its original use (offices) – probably a lot more profitable than a theater for the developer. I’m glad the first floor will be a restaurant, that area was totally under-used when it was a theater. But you are right, we don’t really need more expensive restaurants… I miss the theater.

    • It’s original use was as the Women’s Century Club’s headquarters. When it was built, the third floor theater was a ballroom with a kitchen in the area behind the screen. The main floor theater was a theatre/playhouse and the basement was were the changing rooms were located. I would offer that the lobby was not in fact underused but was well-used as a lobby, a place to wait for your movie. When the building was first converted to a movie house in the early ’70s, the owners envisioned it as something of a community center and would open up the lobby during the day and serve free Market Spice tea there and allow political and social meetings to be held in the community interest. Where throughout it’s history the building’s use was arguably as a “public” space, now most of the building will be closed off to the public, and I wouldn’t say that a restaurant or bar are really public spaces so I guess I would say it’s all gone.

  3. The theater phantom and spirits aren’t going to accept the new change. The developers will continue to have problems.