CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The refurbishment of the nearly 100-year-old Carolina Theatre is landing an additional $2 million from the city after a unanimous vote Monday night.
The under-construction improvements are more than initially expected for a project to reopen the facility at the corner of North Tryon and Sixth streets. The theater’s property owner, Foundation for the Carolinas, requested the $2 million and an extension on its construction deadline from city leaders after pandemic-related challenges to the process.
The Carolina Theatre is one of the last remaining historic structures in uptown Charlotte, and Councilman Malcom Graham said the project is significant to that side of uptown.
“The conclusion of this construction is a good sign that growth and development is approaching North Tryon,” he said Monday. “This is a flagship project. I look forward to a performance real soon.”
In 2016, Foundation for the Carolinas embarked on a $88 million renovation and restoration of the 1927 theater. When complete, the 36,000-square-foot building will seat 950 and feature lectures, symposiums, film and entertainment offerings.
The Charlotte-based FFTC is one of the largest community foundations in the U.S., supporting personal and corporate philanthropy in a 13-county region.
Also as part of the amended public-private agreement, the FFTC is seeking an extension of the theater’s completion date from 2023 to Dec. 31, 2025. After starting construction in 2016, the project is 70 percent complete.
City Manager Marcus Jones noted that since the city is an investor in the theater, it will be part of discussions in January regarding the Arts and Culture Plan.
“We’ll talk about access to people, and artists and neighborhoods in those facilities,” Jones said.
To date, the foundation has raised $73 million from private and public sources, including the state, Mecklenburg County and $4.5 so far from the city. The city said the added funding stems from increased project costs associated with delays due to the pandemic, namely escalating material costs.
As part of the property plans, a 5-star InterContinental Hotel is expected to bring an annual estimated tax revenue of $3.9 million with roughly $362,000 in sales tax to the City of Charlotte.
Also in the North Tryon corridor uptown, there are plans to expand the Charlotte-Mecklenburg library location.
“There will be a lot of activities beginning on North Tryon in the next year or two or three,” Graham said.