Fears that a hotel development planned for the nearly 40-year-old Capitol Theatre site in Manuka would see the demise of a cinema in the inner-south have been quashed with confirmation that it will include a modern six-screen complex.
The owners of the site, the Liangis family, is embroiled with the ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna over a protected tree on the site that is stymieing the development, and will go to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal in a bid to have the mature London plane tree taken of the ACT Tree Register.
But John Liangis said when the staged development eventually gets the go-ahead, the new cinema complex would be incorporated into the hotel, be digitalised and have six screens as there is now but at a smaller scale, with seating from 80 to 120 seats in each space, much like the Palace Electric set-up in NewActon.
He said the current cinema was beyond its use-by date and had reached the end of its commercial viability.
The auditoriums, including one designed as a theatre holding 400-plus patrons, were far too big for a modern cinema complex.
The Manuka cinema is part of the Greater Union chain and the family is negotiating with it to continue operating the new complex.
The current Capitol Theatre building replaced the former structure of the same name that was demolished in 1980, and had a dual purpose as a theatre and a cinema.