New generation of film lovers reviving Capitol 6 theatre downtown

The former home of Capitol 6 Cinemas is being reincarnated as a new downtown movie theatre by the Victoria-raised son of the late, legendary local projectionist Harry Golin.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to come back to my hometown,” said Andrew Golin, who confirmed Tuesday that movies will soon be showing again at the theatre, closed by Empire Company Ltd. in October 2013.

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Details about the revived movie theatre, at Yates and Blanshard streets, are being kept under wraps.

“What I can say is that we’re in the early stages of remodelling the theatre, and we hope to reopen in August,” said Golin, who spoke in the theatre’s second-storey office as crews removed hundreds of timeworn theatre seats.

“We’re preparing the theatre for new flooring, new theatre seats and new carpeting,” Golin said.

Jawl Properties Ltd. has purchased the two-storey, 48,087-square-foot building, and Golin is leasing the theatre portion.

His father, Harry, was a colourful character for years on Victoria’s movie scene, known for his signature bow ties, encyclopedic knowledge of film and childlike enthusiasm for the movies he projected.

Based in Las Vegas, Andrew Golin is vice-president of Regency Theatres, which operates 28 theatres in California, Nevada and Arizona.

He is also the founder of Southwest Theaters, which operates two second-run theatres in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Austin, Texas.

He began researching the potential viability of an additional movie house in downtown Victoria with his brother, Lyndon, president of Regency Theatres.

“When the Capitol 6 became available, I thought it would be a fun thing to do,” Golin said.

“It gives me a chance to spend more time here and run a theatre that I used to go to all the time.”

Robert Jawl of Jawl Properties confirmed ownership of the building, including street-level retail space, but said he couldn’t comment on its lease agreements, in accordance with his company’s privacy policy.

The former movie multiplex, which has sat vacant for three years, is being reinvented by New Capitol Six, a Canadian company, Golin said.

When Nova Scotia-based Empire closed its flagship Victoria multiplex in 2013, it left Cineplex Entertainment’s venerable Odeon sevenplex at 780 Yates St. as the only downtown cinema showing first-run movies.

The 218-seat Vic Theatre that the Victoria Film Festival operates at 808 Douglas St. specializes in art and foreign films, festival fare and as a venue for special events.

Cineplex did not attempt to acquire Capitol 6 because of its strong presence in the capital region with the Odeon, its Saanich multiplex SilverCity, and Langford multiplex Westshore Cinemas, a spokesman said in 2013.

Famous Players originally operated Capitol 6, which was Victoria’s first multiplex, opening in 1981. The building is distinguished by its geometric brick-and-glass exterior and winding ramp inside.

Other downtown developments owned by Jawl Properties include the Atrium office and retail building at 800 Yates St., and office and retail space under construction at 1515 Douglas St.

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