Carolina Theatre

226 N. Tryon Street,
Charlotte, NC 28202

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Carolina Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 $25,000,000, 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. They are planning on renovating the Carolina Theatre in 2016-2017 with a planned 2018 reopening..

Contributed by Ross Melnick, Dave Litterer

Recent comments (view all 156 comments)

LuisV on June 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm

This appeared in today’s Charlotte Observer. It looks like this project is a go. Per the article it does not appear like it will function in any way as a true theater and that’s very disappointing.

“Despite its theatrical history, the renovated Carolina Theatre is being designed to serve as more of a civic gathering space with 1,000 seats for public discourse, including speeches, lectures, debates and conferences. Proposed plans for the renovated theatre include expanding outward with a main lobby that will replace the park currently located on Tryon and upward with three floors of office space and a boutique hotel.”

raysson on June 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm


1927-1957 Paramount/Publix/North Carolina Theatres

1957-1971 Wilby-Kincey Corporation

1971-1978 ABC Southeastern Theatres

Patsy on June 25, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Thanks for the ever important updates. At least the project is a go and the building will be saved!

ncmark on July 8, 2015 at 10:00 am

The Charlotte Mecklenburg County Commission has awarded a $4.2 million grant to the Carolina Theater project. This brings the total raised to $31.2 million with a total goal of $35 million. This is the first public money raised so far. The swift fundraising will allow construction to start in 2016. It looks to be a very exciting project.

Patsy on July 8, 2015 at 10:16 am

This is more exciting news out of Mecklenburg County for 2016!

Patsy on July 8, 2015 at 10:17 am

This theatre had an organ and I wondered if anyone knows where it may have gone?

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.

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