Nov 13, 2023 - Development

The restoration of a rare, historic theatre in Uptown will finish in 2024 despite numerous hurdles

Carolina Theatre

Carolina Theatre

The partially restored Carolina Theatre needs a bit more time and money before it opens as Uptown’s long-promised civic hub.

  • Charlotte City Council voted unanimously Monday night to put another $2 million toward the project, which is being spearheaded by Foundation For The Carolinas.
  • The contractual deadline was also extended from later this winter to the end of 2025.
  • Work is 70% done. The Foundation still expects the theatre to reopen sometime in 2024.

Why it matters: It was 2015 when the Foundation first announced plans to refurbish the 1927 Carolina Theatre. It’s one of the few historic buildings still standing in Uptown. The project was supposed to wrap up in 2019.

  • By 2020, the projected finish date shifted to summer 2022.

What they’re saying: “Renovations and restoration of the Carolina Theatre has proved to be a difficult task, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak,” according to the city council agenda.

  • Crews found asbestos, old lead paint, and contaminated underground water they had to get rid of. Nationally, the effects of COVID-19 jeopardized construction projects by raising materials costs and straining supply chains. The tourism industry was impacted, too.

The big picture: For this $88 million project, the Foundation’s collected $73 million. Contributions included $750,000 from the federal government, $7 million from the state and $4.2 million from Mecklenburg County. The City of Charlotte has allocated $4.5 million, not including the newly approved $2 million, and gave the property to the Foundation for $1.

  • Once complete, the theatre will host lectures, symposiums, town hall meetings, films and entertainment events with 950 seats.
  • There will be a luxury hotel on top. Australian investment firm Salter Brothers paused work on the InterContinental Hotel in 2020 and is restarting this year, Charlotte Business Journal reported. The 28-story, 244-room hotel could open in 2026.

The intrigue: The theatre has been shuttered since 1978. In its heyday, it hosted big-name acts, including Bob Hope, Katherine Hepburn and Elvis Presley.

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