CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Catherine Muccigrosso/Charlotte Observer) - Charlotte’s oldest movie theater will not reopen following the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Following years of speculation, it’s official: Regal Manor Twin on Providence Road in Myers Park is officially closing. The 73-year-old theater opened in 1947 and also is Charlotte’s last full-time art house.
In a statement, Jay Morong, program director for the Charlotte Film Society, called it “the last great community cinema in Charlotte,” despite being owned by a corporation.
“From a historical standpoint, the city is losing an artistic bedrock. Thousands of people and families have shared collectively in the art of film within these walls,” Morong said. “With its shutdown, we have lost an important community gathering space.”
Movie theaters around the state and nation were shuttered during the COVID-19 crisis, and are still not allowed to reopen in North Carolina. The Manor Twin will not get a chance to reopen.
“We truly appreciate the loyal patronage at the Manor Twin and our partnership with Eastern Federal over the years. Our staff worked hard to provide a quality entertainment venue serving Charlotte moviegoers with art and independent film,” said Richard Grover, vice president of communications for Regal.
“With the closing of this location, we will continue to offer art and independent film at our other Regal theaters in the Charlotte area.”
The shopping center is owned by Eastern Federal Corp., according to the real estate management and investment company’s website. The company sold its 21 theaters and 230-screen division in 2005 to Regal after 70 years, the site sates.
Morong has personal ties to the theater. He worked as a projectionist there for 10 years starting in 2005 when he moved to Charlotte.
He said in the last two years, the city has gone from having 13 dedicated screens that showed alternative, foreign and art house content to now zero.
“That is not good for a city of over 1 million people who will now be severely limited in their cinematic choices.
I cannot stress enough that this is a horrible day for Charlotte film supporters,” he said.
A LONG LEGACY
EFC, based in Charlotte, has commercial and residential real estate properties in North Carolina and Florida.
“EFC is proud to have been a part of the long legacy of the Manor theater, first as operators and more recently as landlord,” said Josh Page, COO at Eastern Federal. “As owners of the property for over 75 years, we are going to carefully consider our alternatives and be very mindful of the importance of this property to Charlotte.”
Manor Shops lists no availability for the more than 28,000-square-foot center that includes Panera Bread, according to Thrift Commercial Real Estate Services website.
In February, Regal Ballantyne Village closed. Jonathan Gould with Stonemar Properties of New York, which owns and manages the center, said in January that the decision to close was mutual with Regal. The roughly 50,000-square-foot space on two floors is now office space.
Regal has four other theaters in Charlotte theaters and several others in the region.
Regal abruptly closed Park Terrace, also known for showing independent and foreign films, three years ago. The Park Road theater was the second oldest in Charlotte, opening in 1964.
AMC bought that theater, renovated it and re-opened last year showing mainstream movies on six screens.
OTHER THEATER CLOSINGS
Just as it looked like Charlotte was expanding with more movie theaters, another one closed.
Studio Movie Grill, a movie theater with full-service dining, opened its second Charlotte location at 5336 Docia Crossing Road in December. It has 10 screens and 1,022 luxury recliners.