Majestic Bay Theaters

Seattle, WA

Ken Alhadeff

Three-screen cinema
4,750 sf lot


  • Majestic Bay Exterior
  • Majestic Bay Exterior at Dusk
  • Majestic Bay Entry
  • Majestic Bay Neon Sign
  • Majestic Bay Neon Sign

The client originally intended to renovate the historic Bay Cinema in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, but it quickly became apparent that the much-loved structure was economically and functionally obsolete.

Instead, the property owner decided to build a state-of-the-art multiplex cinema on the tiny urban site. Recognizing the economic imperative to have multiple screens, two 92-seat theaters were built above one 269-seat theatre. Similar to a symphony hall, each theater is structurally isolated from adjoining spaces.

Two lobbies are stacked above one another, and separated by restrooms “sandwiched” between. The upper lobby has a dramatic view towards downtown Seattle through an entirely glazed wall-to-wall window. Large neon letters that spell “BAY” pay homage to the facility’s historical roots. At the street level, mahogany doors and wall panels are accented with brass hardware and recall Ballard’s maritime heritage.

Since opening, the Majestic Bay has become a cherished Ballard institution. It is often referenced as a catalyst for this dynamic neighborhood’s transformation. As described in the Seattle Times: “The Majestic Bay Theaters combines state-of-the art technology with a care for design inside and out. They offer dignity and drama. And they add immensely to the richness of the street.”

Photography: © Michael Burns