Another crane is coming to Charlotte’s skyline for hotel, theater restoration site

After a years-long effort to bring a dilapidated historic theater back to life, the Foundation For The Carolinas is now turning its attention to the tower that will be built atop it.

The foundation said this week crews will install the tower’s construction crane for the Carolina Theatre project at Sixth and North Tryon Streets starting Saturday. In addition to restoring the theater, the plans call for additional stories of civic space and a 250-room Intercontinental Hotel to rise above it. Australian company SB&G Hotel Group and Valor Hospitality Partners are partnering to develop the hotel. All told, the building will be 34 stories.

Built in 1927, the Carolina Theatre hosted acts like Bob Hope, Katherine Hepburn and Elvis Presley. But it has been vacant and decaying since it closed in 1978.

The Charlotte City Council gave the foundation the theater building for $1 in 2012 and the organization first announced its plans in 2015. Construction began last summer.

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Laura Smith, the foundation’s executive vice president, said the next step is to rebuild the interior, restoring it as close to the original design as possible. The foundation is planning to use the original paint colors, and had moldings made of some of the original plaster work. In total, Smith estimates the restoration will cost around $50 million.

“When you walk into the theater itself it’s going to feel very much like you’re in 1927,” she said.

She expects the theater to open in fall 2021 and the hotel to open around spring 2022.

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Danielle Chemtob covers economic growth and development for the Observer. She’s a 2018 graduate of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill and a California transplant.