Owner of film venue bows out

OLYMPIA – The owner of the Capitol Theater building in downtown Olympia has put the 21,000-square-foot building and movie theater up for sale, listing it for $1.8 million this week.

Gary Holgate, 67, of Chehalis bought the building about a year ago from Andrew Crow, who had owned it since 1991, according to Thurston County Assessor’s Office data. The two-story building at 206 Fifth Ave. S.E. also faces Washington Street and has retailers on the first floor, office space on the second floor and the theater, which is operated by the Olympia Film Society.

Holgate said he is selling the building because of his ongoing struggles with cancer. He was diagnosed as having leukemia in 2000.

“It’s kind of like having a fire,” he said. “The chemo(therapy) knocks it down but it doesn’t put it out.”

Holgate said he has had a close relationship with OFS and hopes the organization will be able to buy the building so members can have some “control over their destiny.”

OFS currently operates the theater on a 20-year lease, he said.

OFS board of directors President Isaac Overcast said Thursday that the organization’s long-term goal always has been to buy the building.

“We play a pretty big role in the cultural landscape of downtown Olympia,” he said. “It’s a beautiful home for us, and it has worked out for a long time.”

Overcast said OFS is working with a lawyer and a real estate agent, but the details of possibly acquiring the building still need to be discussed.

“I don’t want to speculate right now,” he said. “We’re excited by the possibility of establishing a permanent home.”

OFS was formed in the early 1980s and has operated out of several locations over the years, including the State Theater and the Capitol Theater. Last year, a new marquee was added to the building’s facade. The organization has grown to about 1,300 members, Overcast said.

More discussion about the sale is planned, Overcast said. The OFS annual membership meeting is set for 1 to 3 p.m. May 30 at the theater, he said.

OFS also plans to post updates on the sale in the theater lobby and on the OFS Web site, he said.

The 20-year lease took effect last year, Holgate said. He couldn’t say Thursday whether the terms of the lease would change under a new owner.

The listing agent for the building is Ryan Clintworth of the Olympia office of Colliers International. He said he has not received a purchase offer yet, although some potential buyers have requested information about the property. Clintworth also has had preliminary discussions with OFS members, but they have not made a purchase offer either, he said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403