Ottawa may lose its last downtown multiplex theatre after Empire Theatres said it won't renew its lease at the World Exchange Plaza.

The theatre's lease expires on Dec. 31 and the company running the plaza is exploring using the movie theatre space for something else.

The company that runs the building, Bentall Kennedy, is looking into other uses for the theatre space.

"As neighbourhoods evolve, we must continue to be flexible within the uses permitted in current zoning," the company said in a statement to CBC.

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Ottawa may lose its last downtown multiplex theatre after Empire Theatres indicated it won't renew its lease at the World Exchange Plaza. (CBC)

City Councillor Peter Hume, who is the head of the planning committee, said an agreement made in 1988 ensures that the building has an entertainment facility.

Facility could entertain other ways

"What they're asking to be changed is the development agreement we made in 1988," said Hume.

Hume said the city should consider if having an entertainment facility at that facility has value.

"If it does, we should maintain it. If it doesn't then we should release them from that requirement," said Hume.

He said the company could use the facility for other entertainment.

"Maybe it doesn't need to be a theatre, maybe they need to animate through a variety of means - it could be outdoor music, it could be outdoor theatre in their plaza," he said. "There's a lot of ways they could fulfil their development agreement."

Chris Robinson of the Ottawa International Animation festival said his group used to screen films at the Rideau Centre, but after that theatre closed in the spring, he moved the festival to the World Exchange Plaza for this year.

"It's certainly becoming more of a challenge for cultural events who want to keep life going on in the downtown area," said Robinson.