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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Theater Off Jackson Abandons—or Maybe Postpones?—Georgetown Project

posted by on March 26 at 13:10 PM

Back in October, I got all excited because Theater Off Jackson announced they’d be opening a second location in Georgetown, called Exit 162, in the fusty caverns of Eagles Aerie #1.

This was good news for Georgetown (Exit 162 was to open on Corson, just a postprandial stroll away from Matt Dillon’s new restaurant, The Corson Building) and great news for theater—stage space is hard to come by these days and TOJ has demonstrated good judgement, presenting Sgt. Rigsby and His Amazing Silhouettes, Mike Daisey, a weirdly amusing Dracula musical, The Cody Rivers Show, an annual Solo Performance Festival (which might be the kernel for a new, improved fringe festival) and other theater worth watching.

It was also good p.r. for the Sabey Corporation, the real-estate titan that owns lots of Georgetown (including the old Rainier Brewery) and has a fractious relationship with its Keep-Georgetown-Quaint neighbors. Sabey was giving TOJ everything but money—lawyers, consultants, designers, etc.—to help it buy and renovate the Eagles building.

Anyway, deal’s off. TOJ couldn’t find the money.

From an email they just sent:

We are very sorry to announce that TOJ has not been able to secure the necessary funding to move forward with the purchase of the Eagles property. Despite our best efforts, this particular project proved to be too ambitious for an organization of our size.

They’re trying to sound hopeful:

We are still committed to owning a home in Georgetown, and will regroup to build support before seeking out another property.

But it sounds like doom.

RSS icon Comments


A condo developer probably offered to outbid them at any price.

Posted by Gomez | March 26, 2008 1:37 PM

Shame. Shame I tell you!

Posted by Mr. Poe | March 26, 2008 1:37 PM

What a drag. In a town where theaters only come down, it was heartening to think that one was defying the trend. We should have known better than to get our hopes up.

Posted by Gurildoggie | March 26, 2008 2:16 PM

Drat! Oh well, at least they're holding on the the space in the ID, so there's no net-loss here.

Still, I think everybody in the community was pulling for them to succeed on this one, if for no other reason than many of us expect Georgetown is most likely going to be one of the few affordable neighborhoods for arts venues within the City limits in the next few years.

Posted by COMTE | March 26, 2008 2:31 PM

Anyone see the front page article in... I can't remember if it was the Times or the PI... about the Georgetown neighborhood not being too happy about being the next big gentrificated thing (which is where they're headed)?

They definitely need to expand the bus service to and from there, though... at least make sure the 60 and 121 run later and late on weekends.

Posted by Gomez | March 26, 2008 3:04 PM

Obviously, there are too many theaters for the communities level of interest in theater.

Posted by Tiktok | March 26, 2008 3:42 PM

I am peripherally involved with the Exit 162 project and can only comment vaguely.

The purchase failing can be distilled down I think to a single hurdle: money. Which in this case was not he same as want, desire and support. They had and have a huge amount of that which in and of itself is huge. They also raised a large amount of money - money with a M - but it was not enough money.

I do believe the Exit 162 project will go forward but with a different building. The project wasn't entirely conceived because of that particular building, but to bring live performance to Georgetown.

However, the equation is simple: money = space. If you want to support Exit 162, give them money.

Posted by GDC | March 26, 2008 6:44 PM

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