Town to Buy Old Movie Theater?


Story and photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – Two sources have told CaryCitizen that the Town of Cary is interested in the “old movie theater” on Chatham Street.

The Old Movie Theater

The old movie theater, just a block down from Academy Street, has been an auto parts store for long time. Decades, in fact. Recently, the property looked like it had been abandoned.

The plan we heard would reconvert the building back into a small theater. Art films, children’s programs and a small stage were mentioned.

Town of Cary had “no news at this time” in response to our inquiry for more information. But sources say we might hear some definite news later this week.

If true, this would be another step in the right direction for downtown Cary.



12 replies
  1. Lindsey
    Lindsey says:

    You heard it here first- town just announced this officially in a press release today:
    The transformation of downtown Cary continues with the Town of Cary’s purchase of 122 East Chatham Street, the 65 year-old former site of the town’s first indoor movie theatre. Cary purchased the 7,488 square-foot building for $410,000 and intends to renovate and repurpose it over the next 12-18 months as a multi-use cultural facility with a likely focus on music, theatre, and digital arts including film. The initiative, which will likely include up to $1 million for repurposing, is being paid for as part of the $8 million allocated for downtown capital projects in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. In the past, the building has also been a clothing store, auto parts store and recording studio.

    Red other related story today about Master Plan Public Input:
    Attend the 2 public speaks out sessions (Monday and Tuesday) about master Plan for Parks and Rec-
    If you have concerns about residents west of 55- those needs are being addressed. The Town has already purchased land for parks and community centers in that geographic area. Town staff is seeking citizen comments about needs not being met.

  2. Chris Ashworth
    Chris Ashworth says:

    The Town of Cary is trying to revitalize Downtown Cary…This has been in the works for many years. Had the economy not had such a huge downturn, these projects would be nearing completion by now. There is nothing wrong with wanting to revamp the original part of Cary. It is a very historical district and the Town is just trying to get it back to where it once was. There are always going to be parking problems in any downtown area. Try parking in downtown Raleigh or even Apex…it’s very difficult, but it is doable. Luckily for us Cary citizens, the town built a parking deck a couple years ago, and they don’t even charge you to park there! Change is not always bad thing.

  3. Gary
    Gary says:

    Where to park?

    Or, spend the $ on greeways which are more healthy and get more use more days of the week.

    Also, get someone to power wash those “preserved” filthy, mildewed brick pillars in front of the nicely renovated school at the end of Academy, yet another artsy place with no place for a lot of cars to easily park.

    Me thinks the artsy people have take over planning for downtown.

    Maybe that is a good thing for a a few restaurant owners?

    Or, take over the thawed ICE’d Kroger and make it a movie place, etc. to serve the growing masses who live west of 55, and need culture, etc.

  4. Chris Ashworth
    Chris Ashworth says:

    I think it’d be pretty cool to turn it into a theatre from the 40’s…kinda like The Majestic…Downtown Cary should revert itself back to Art Deco…very classy

  5. Hal Goodtree
    Hal Goodtree says:

    Daniel – According to our friend and longtime Cary resident Steve Steinbeck, it was simply called the Cary Theater.

  6. Lindsey Chester
    Lindsey Chester says:

    It could also be used for showing digital video projects and student films created at Cary High School and maybe at the new arts center for small audiences. Also an alternative venue for small plays that cannot fill the 400 seats at the arts center.
    Downtown needs attractions both for Day and Night- restaurants need evening customers too!

  7. Leslie Huffman
    Leslie Huffman says:

    It certainly would help bring some folks downtown for dinner and a movie. It would be great for those downtown restaurants.

    • Edward
      Edward says:

      It was called the Cary Theater. As I recall, a lady named Mrs Smith ran it. She got movies second-run about four or six months after they’d been in Raleigh. She also had kids’ matinees — Westerns starring the likes of Gene Autry or Roy Rogers. But she had “bulk” movies that wouldn’t have been popular during the week, so she showed those on a double bill with the Western, pictures like “The Asphalt Jungle” and “Storm Warning”. I enjoyed those more than the “oaters”!

      • Hal Goodtree
        Hal Goodtree says:

        Thanks for the reminiscence, Edward! It would be great to see a classic film series at the renovated theater. My favorite is Sunset Boulevard (closely followed by Touch of Evil).

  8. Eleanor Thorne
    Eleanor Thorne says:

    Mr. Campbell – have you looked at that HUGE parking lot we just built at the First United Methodist church… I’ll bet all the people who wanted to go see a movie could park there. Yeah, they’d have to walk a half a block – but it’s a nice part of town. I think it would be cool.

  9. Robert Campbell
    Robert Campbell says:

    Right direction for downtown? Seriously? Based on what? Any movie theater would need parking, and lots of it — something in short supply in downtown. And, what value would a theater really add? Something that gets the bulk of it’s business during the evening hours doesn’t sound all that great to me. Would rather focus on fact rather than this senseless speculation.

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