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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries Online

Riverfront’s IMAX theater headed for demolition

Because of declining revenue, the Spokane Park Board has decided to tear down the IMAX Theater in Riverfront Park. (Colin Mulvany/SR photo)
Because of declining revenue, the Spokane Park Board has decided to tear down the IMAX Theater in Riverfront Park. (Colin Mulvany/SR photo)

Riverfront Park’s iconic IMAX theater will be demolished as part of the park’s redevelopment.

The Spokane Park Board chose last week to tear down the aging attraction, built after Expo ’74, after talking about its fate for several years.

“I think when you make decisions, you need to go with decisions,” said park board member Susan Traver on Sept. 23. The park board held a special meeting to discuss design plans for the proposed $19 million pavilion that will anchor the newly redesigned Riverfront Park.

A master plan for the park’s redevelopment, agreed to in 2014, called for closing the IMAX due to declining revenues. After an attendance peak in 2005, the attraction has seen revenues plummet following the opening of the IMAX screen at the AMC cinema in nearby River Park Square and the loss of licensing to show big-budget Hollywood films in 2009.

Internal park numbers show the theater making a yearly profit of more than $67,000 in 2005, compared with a loss of more than $164,000 in 2012, before the Parks Department began instituting cost-saving measures.

The park board approved a planning document that removed mention of keeping the IMAX theater or its foundation in the design of the new building. Sept. 23 was the last day all park board members had a chance to provide input as a group before the document goes out to a design firm.

The park board hopes to approve a contract for the pavilion design and construction by the end of March, and the pavilion is scheduled to open by March 2019/Kip Hill, SR. More here.



Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.