DeMuro Award Profile: Egyptian Theater – Coos Bay, Oregon

Placed on our list of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places back in 2011, the Egyptian Theater in Coos Bay, Oregon has experienced an award-winning rebirth.

Originally constructed in 1925, the Egyptian Theatre is one of only four remaining Egyptian-Revival-themed theaters in the United States.

This ornate movie palace had long served as the social and economic anchor of downtown Coos Bay; but structural issues forced its closure in 2011. The following year, with hopes of returning the Egyptian to its former glory, the City of Coos Bay and the Egyptian Theatre Preservation Association (ETPA) embarked on an ambitious campaign to finance the repair and re-opening of the theater.

A seed grant from Restore Oregon funded a market study confirming the economic viability of the Egyptian. This, in turn, provided credibility for a fundraising campaign. The community of Coos Bay soon rallied, raising $1.3 million to fund a multi-phased restoration which addressed structural issues, added ADA-accessible bathrooms, restored the building’s façade and recreated its historic marquee.

Meanwhile, the ETPA also worked to develop a sound business plan to ensure long-term economic viability. Thanks to robust programming, the theater has averaged four events per week since reopening in 2014, providing a noticeable boost in foot traffic for nearby restaurants and businesses.

This ambitious restoration project not only prevented a movie palace from becoming a parking lot, it also returned a historic theater to its former splendor, while setting a new standard for savvy preservation by generating extraordinary community engagement. For all these reasons, and many more, Restore Oregon was pleased to honor the Egyptian Theater with 2016 De Muro Award.

Project: Egyptian Theater

Owner:  City of Coos Bay (Operated by the Egyptian Theater Preservation Society)

Developer:  Egyptian Theater Preservation Association

Consultant:  Kramer & Company

Contractor:  DLR Construction

Engineer:  KPFF

Marquee:  Duarte Design & Alpha Sign

Budget: $1.3M

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