A Japanese Bookstore Is Moving into the Long-Vacant Guild Theatre

The owners of the historic downtown movie theater began renovating the theater last year for an unnamed tenant.

Guild Theatre. (Aaron Mesh)

After over a decade of vacancy, the Guild Theatre has a new resident—Japan's Kinokuniya Books.

The Guild's owners began renovating the theater last year for an unnamed tenant. But a series of recently filed permits reveal the new tenants to be Kinokuniya.

For 12 years, the historic downtown movie theater has been unoccupied, windows shuttered beneath the distinctive art deco awning. The Guild Theatre opened in 1927 and was bought by Fox Tower developer Tom Moyer in the 1980s. The Guild housed NW Film Center starting in 1998, but has been unused since NW Film moved out in 2006. Opera Theater Oregon made an offer to rent and renovate the theater in 2010, but the proposal was declined.

Kinokuniya stocks huge catalog of classic manga and new releases, English translations of Japanese novels, collectibles and imported stationary. The company has a dozen locations over the U.S., including a small store in Beaverton.

Kinokuniya’s San Francisco Store (courtesy of Kinokuniya USA).

Kinokuniya's plans for the Guild include a cafe and a new upper level. A representative for Kinokuniya confirmed with WW that the company will open its next location in Portland, but that "all the details, including the date of the opening, are not yet confirmed."

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