Carolina Theatre

226 N. Tryon Street,
Charlotte, NC 28202

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Carolina Theatre

Opened on March 7, 1927, the Carolina Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Charlotte. It was built for and operated by Publix. 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 required 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 186 comments)

thom5340 on May 4, 2021 at 1:43 pm

Hi, Patsy and other members. I emailed the powers that be and offered the gift of a Barton Theatre Organ for the restoration. I was told that the renovation plans do not include the re-installation of a pipe organ. As I understand, the Theatre originally had a Barton. If anyone has any questions they can contact me directly.

spectrum on October 20, 2021 at 12:44 pm

Link to their Spring 2021 newsletter:

Highlights: Construction continuing, primarily on electrical, HVAC, etc. and continued excavation of the basement into the crawlspace. The roof will be removed and replaced over the summer of 2021 (So it’s probably done by now).

ncmark on August 31, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Work continues on renovations but several setbacks have pushed the completion and reopening date to spring 2023. Work on the hotel tower over the new lobby area may resume soon in the fall of 2022.

ncmark on April 18, 2023 at 10:06 am

The latest update for the opening date is now early 2024. Hopefully some interior pictures will be released soon to give everyone a preview. It’s been an incredibly long construction project hampered by every delay imaginable but it looks like this project will give Charlotte an asset unlike anything else in this fast growing city.

Patsy on April 18, 2023 at 10:14 am

Mark: Finally! Hope to see photos soon. My email is

Patsy on April 18, 2023 at 10:17 am

Lived there 18 winters and met with many fellow theatre buffs re: this theatre in downtown Charlotte. Even went to a NYE party there years ago.

Patsy on April 18, 2023 at 10:51 am

ncmark on May 23, 2023 at 5:06 pm

The Charlotte Business Journal just reported on updates for this project. Opening is at least a year away so hopefully some time in summer of 2024. The costs is now estimated at $73 million and may go up a bit more. Fundraising is needed for an additional $12 million. The 32 story hotel addition over the lobby has not restarted yet but hopefully will soon. Inside work on the ceiling is progressing as is recasting of ornamental plaster removed in the 1961 Cinerama remodeling. No photographers have been allowed in yet in hopes of building up a wow factor closer to the reopening.

MSC77 on June 5, 2023 at 8:41 am

A chronology of Charlotte’s 70mm presentations history has recently been published/updated. The Carolina, of course, gets several mentions in the piece.

spectrum on August 3, 2023 at 5:35 pm

July 2023: The new newsletter has some color photos of the auditorium restoration - they’ve restored a lot of the ornamental details in the front of the auditorium with those around sidewalls and balcony starting later in the summer. Nice progress being made! Go to this link ( and scroll down to the newsletter button.

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