Friday, June 15, 2012

Progress at the Coos Bay Egyptian!

The Egyptian Theatre, in Coos Bay, is making great progress.  Earlier this week the marketing study, by Herb Stratford of Historic Theater Consultants/Mary Bosch of MarkeTek, was released to the public, identifying a sustainable mix of live performance and a range of films that can fill a niche in the Coos County/South Coast region.  This will enable the theatre to again serve its fans and rebuild back the audience that it lost in March 2011 when the doors were closed following the issuance of a structural report that result in a “dangerous building” designation.

Since then the City, which owns the building, and its partners the Egyptian Theatre Preservation Association, have been working hard behind the scenes to craft a new future for this gem of a structure.  In addition to Herb and myself, they have brought in new fund-raising talent in the form of Cascadia Consultants and most critically a soon-to-be finalized contract with an engineering firm that will revisit the structural issues.   A big problem with the first structural report was that it envisioned a fully-rehabilitated building capable of putting on large scale Broadway-style shows, multiple green rooms, all new systems and mechanical improvements, plus a full code upgrade.  That would all be nice, but much of it isn’t necessary or, in light of the marketing study, logical.  Instead the Egyptian is now looking to a phased rehabilitation and the first phase is simply to get the doors back open, put the public back inside this incredible auditorium, let them enjoy the "Mighty Wurlitzer" once again, and re-tool the unfortunate perception that the building is beyond repair.  As a recent article in the local paper reports, that shouldn’t be too expensive to accomplish and we are hoping to have those doors back open by mid-2013. (see the article at

On other fronts, the City is studying the drainage problem that led to fears of the lobby flooding and the ugly sandbags on the street, a paint and patch façade upgrade that will give give the building a cleaner appearance and correct some damage.  Plus there is a REALLY nifty fund-raising concept floating around that will just have to check back to hear about!  The Egyptian is coming back… count on it.  Well Done Coos Bay!

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