AKA: Coliseum Theater, Downtown, Seattle, WA; Banana Republic Retail Store, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Priteca, B. Marcus, Architect (firm); Skouras Brothers, Theatre Management Company (firm); Carl Gerhardt Moeller (architectural designer); Barnet Marcus Priteca (architect); Charles Peter Skouras (interior designer); George Skouras (interior designer); Spyros Skouras (interior designer)

Dates: constructed 1915-1916

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500 Pike Street
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98101-2316

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500 Pike Street at Fifth Avenue;

Building History

This early movie palace operated from 1916-1990, serving as the premier place to watch a movie in the city. Seattle architect Benjamin Marcus Priteca (1889-1971) designed the Coliseum Theatre for his friend, the real estate developer, Joseph Gottstein (1891-1971); the Coliseum Theatre opened 01/08/1916, utilizing an orchestra to accompany its silent movies. The off-white terra-cotta cladding of the exterior became standard for many of the Pantages theatres. The last movie presentation occurred on 03/11/1990.

Building Notes

The Coliseum had a tall entablature at its parapet and a bright white terra cotta facade, encrusted with well-rendered classical details. It possessed a Moller theatre organ opus 1964 size 4/30, installed 1915, and a new Wurlitzer organ was installed in 06/1918. (See "Coliseum Theatre 4/32 Wurlitzer,"Accessed 08/24/2009.) The interior of the Coliseum had ramps, not stairs, leading to the mezzanine and balconies. Originally, Priteca's design accommodated 1,870 patrons. It was made registered as a City of Seattle Landmark; city landmarking protected the building's exterior, but not its interior, which was gutted.


The coffered half-dome above the front entry was covered by a half-round awning in the 1920s; the dome lighting the foyer, once transparent, was made opaque at the some time. The dome was later removed and replaced by a neon sign spelling out "Coliseum." As at most movie palaces, signage was updated periodically.

The Skouras interior design organization remodeled the interior in 1949. A large stained glass dome hanging over the foyer was destroyed in the 1940s.

The Coliseum Theatre's interior was stripped and altered into a Banana Republic clothing store in 1994.

Seattle Historic Landmark (01/17/1978): ID n/a

National Register of Historic Places (July 7, 1975): 75001854 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 3212