Sound Transit began demolition of the eight-screen building last week to make room for the incoming Federal Way Link Extension.
The Federal Way Link Extension is part of a 7.8-mile route project from the Angle Lake Station in SeaTac through Kent to the Federal Way Transit Center, scheduled to open for service in 2024.
Countless first dates, weekend hangouts and movie premieres took place inside the theater. Memories were brought to light as Federal Way residents shared their stories when photos of the demolition circulated on social media.
The theater was opened in 1989 by General Cinema Corp. (GCC). In 2001, the theater closed and was reopened by Galaxy Theatres as the Galaxy Gateway 8, according to bigscreen.com.
Seattle resident Jasin Bravo recalls biking to the free showing of “Die Hard” with his friends years ago at the theater’s grand opening. Adding a bit of mischievous history, he added:
“Hooligans kept throwing laundry detergent in the fountain out front so it was filled with concrete,” he wrote on Facebook.
Sold to Starplex Cinemas in 2005, it was turned into a discount theater showing second-run movies and renamed the Starplex Cinemas – Gateway Movies 8. A final change in ownership occurred in 2015, when AMC Theatres bought Starplex Cinemas for $172 million. The Federal Way building’s name was last changed to AMC Classic Gateway 8 in 2017, before permanently closing in December 2019.
Nick Ostrom, a real estate broker/agent at Engel & Völkers Federal Way, said working at the Gateway 8 theater was his first — and probably his best — job ever.
“If you ever called this theater in the early 2000s, you probably heard my voice reading showing times. If you didn’t throw away your popcorn bucket and candy wrappers, I probably picked them up,” he said. “If you’re the cop that left your gun and badge under a seat, I found them … So many good memories. So many good friends made. I can’t imagine what life would look like without these people and the memories created in, and because of this theater.”