Capitol Theatre Struggling to Repay City Loan (Go Support Them)

click to enlarge Capitol! Capitol! - @CapitolW65th
Capitol! Capitol!
A report in Friday said that the Capitol Theatre in the Gordon Square Arts District has been unable to repay a loan by the city. 

Cleveland City Council voted Monday to grant the Detroit-Shoreway Development Corporation, which owns the Capitol, an additional two years of deferments on the $1.48 million loan. This isn't the first time the city has had to modify the terms of the repayment structure, but it was necessary. Detroit-Shoreway was supposed to have started paying back the remaining principal on the loan last year and couldn't manage. 

So from now until August, 2018, the Capitol will only have to make monthly $100 "good will" interest-only payments. Come September, 2018, DSDC will have to start paying back the loan. Cleveland now wants to be privy to its marketing efforts as well, to see proof that the theater is trying to increase revenue. 

According to, once 2017 rolls around, one-third of any net income DSDC receives from the Capitol must go to the city to be applied toward the loan.

The reason why the Capitol's been struggling is the reason why any business struggles — not enough people have been showing up. Initial attendance projections based on neighborhood surveys and attendance numbers at the nearby Cleveland Public Theatre projected an annual Capitol movie going crop of 100,000. But it's actually much closer to 50,000. And the theater needs to sell 75,000 tickets per year just to break even.

The Capitol's an undisputed gem, and even though, with only three screens, it has struggled to compete with the diverse line-ups at the Cedar Lee and the unlimited options at megaplexes like Valley View, it has recently doubled down on unique programming with special series and flagship movie events.

This weekend, the Capitol is showing Sully, The Magnificent Seven, and Author: The JT LeRoy Story.

About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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