The Historic Landmark Commission reviewed plans for the proposed renovation of Carolina Theatre on Wednesday, a $35 million project that would create a new building fronting Sixth and Tryon streets in front of the theater.
The theater opened in 1927 and closed in 1978. For the past 37 years it has sat vacant and decaying on a prominent corner uptown.
The Foundation for the Carolinas is planning to start work next year on the renovation, which will join the theater with its headquarters next door and create a new civic space uptown. In addition to the restoration of the 36,000 square-foot theater building itself, the Foundation’s plans call for office space and possibly a high-end hotel. The theater is being preserved and renovated, as is the original facade, which will be visible through the new building’s glass. The Foundation’s board is hearing proposals from developers for a hotel, which would help offset the theater’s operating costs.
The landmark commission’s Design Review Committee saw preliminary plans for the site this week. Here’s their description of the project: “The applicant proposes to front the Carolina Theater's auditorium with a multi-story building. The building would feature a tall glass-panel-sheathed lobby. The historic entrance facade would be rebuilt as an interior feature.”
So far, the Foundation has raised more than $27 million from private donors, $4.2 million from the county and $3.7 million worth of real estate from the city for the renovation project. Preliminary site work such as soil testing has already begun.