Carolina Theatre

226 N. Tryon Street,
Charlotte, NC 28202

Unfavorite 8 people favorited this theater

Carolina Theatre

Opened on March 7, 1927, the Carolina Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Charlotte. In the 1940’s in was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary H.F. Kincey.

Despite a successful multi-decade run, including a period as a Cinerama theatre, the Carolina Theatre closed on November 27, 1978, and was damaged by arson in the 1980’s. Many decorative elements of the original interior were removed, but others remain including the (badly damaged) murals. The lobby and entrance portion of the building was demolished recently, but the space from the auditorium to the street was very recently turned into a beautiful mini-park. The building is structurally sound, the exterior has been repaired and repainted.

In April 2013, the city of Charlotte sold the Carolina Theatre for $1.00 to the Foundation for the Carolinas which intends to restore it as a performing arts and community center seating between 1,000 and 1,200. This project, estimated to cost $51,500,000, benefited from a $5,000,000 pledge from the Bank of America on January 28, 2014, to kick-start its fundraising campaign for the restoration. In 2018 Barings Bank gifted $500,000 which completed the $51.5 million requied for the renovations. Construction has begun in renovating the Carolina Theatre with a planned 2020 reopening. A 32-story Intercontinental Hotel will be built on top of the theatre and the new project will be named Belk Place in honor of the Belk family.

Contributed by Ross Melnick, Dave Litterer

Recent comments (view all 162 comments)

Patsy on January 16, 2016 at 6:29 pm

What is the current status?

spectrum on April 30, 2016 at 7:09 am

Their press release from Dec. 2015 indicates restoration will start in 2016 with the opening tentatively in 2018.

The theatre itself has an official website at

Patsy on April 30, 2016 at 2:38 pm

spectrum: Can’t seem to download the first link. Is it correctly given?

binchwb on June 30, 2016 at 9:19 am

I got to tour this theater during the initial phase of restoration fundraising, which I could swear was during Springfest in the early-mid 90s (do they do Springfest in Charlotte anymore?). It was very surreal – the entire lobby corridor was gone. The main entrance to the auditorium was set back from North Tryon with the space between where the old marquis was and the auditorium door just an open-air area. The auditorium itself was decrepit and stunning at the same time. I’m assuming the structure itself was sound, but it was like walking through a building that had been burned out – dark, dingy, but fascinating nonetheless. I’m glad to hear it’s being restored. I worked at several theaters in Charlotte and frequented many others in the 70s, 80s, and 90s – most all have been torn down. It seems that there could be some positive use for these old auditoriums, but that can’t always be the case.

Cinerama on August 31, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Too bad other than the 2001: a space odyssey ad, there are no other ads or pictures of the theatre when it was a Cinerama theatre from 1961 to 1969. I would love to add them to my list of Cinerama theatres –

Patsy on August 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Any restoration updates would be greatly appreciated.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 1, 2017 at 7:40 am

I photographed the Carolina last year. Check out a short write up and some images at After the Final Curtain.

ncmark on March 28, 2017 at 10:49 am

The Foundation for the Carolinas announced that construction will start on the Carolina Theatre in May and that a 20 story hotel will be built atop the vacant land of the former lobby area. The budget has grown to $42 million.

ncmark on June 3, 2017 at 8:12 am

The construction fence is up around the theater and work has begun on the renovation.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater