Former Swanee theater in Kannapolis sold, to become entertainment venue

Former Swanee theater in Kannapolis sold, to become entertainment venue
The new ownership group, which includes Kent Gregory and Ken Lingafelt, plans to renovate the building, and open it as an entertainment venue. (Source: City of Kannapolis)

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - Monday night, the Kannapolis City Council approved the sale of the former Swanee Theatre to West Avenue Entertainment, LLC. The new ownership group, which includes Kent Gregory and Ken Lingafelt, plans to renovate the building, and open it as an entertainment venue.

The Swanee Theatre was built in 1940 and was one of four single screen movie theatres in Kannapolis. It remained open until 1971. Since then the building was used as a visitor center and a workforce training center for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College but has been vacant in recent years.

“We are looking forward to seeing this building come alive again. Many of our residents have memories of the wonderful times spent at the Swanee being entertained with a movie. Now, the building will be restored and once again we will be able to visit it to be entertained with live performances,” commented Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant.

“The Swanee Theater, an iconic building in the heart of downtown Kannapolis is a structure we have to preserve and bring back to life for the community. Our goal is to reopen the Swanee in the late third quarter of this year and provide a venue for live music & performances. With a capacity of approximately 500 it delivers a perfect setting for performers to truly connect with their audience.  The Swanee will also be available for other community uses”, commented Gregory and Lingafelt.

The parcel is located at the corner of West Avenue and Cannon Ballers Way and will be sold for $567,000. The City will also provide a construction loan of up to $950,000 to the buyer to finance the cost of the renovations to the building. The property was initially purchased by the City in 2015 as part of the Downtown Revitalization Plan when the City bought 50 acres (eight blocks of downtown buildings) and over 700,000 square feet of commercial space.

The City has now sold five of the downtown blocks and one of the outer parcels (the former Plant 4 site). A number of new businesses have opened including restaurants, a brewery, boutiques, hair salon and a barber, a cycle shop and much more.

Kannapolis Downtown Revitalization Project:

The City of Kannapolis has invested $113 million in three catalyst projects to revitalize downtown. The projects include the West Avenue Streetscape, Atrium Health Ballpark (the new home of the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers Minor League Baseball Team) and a public parking deck in the VIDA Mixed-Use District. A new catalyst project, renovations to the Gem Theatre, is now underway.

For more information on the City of Kannapolis and the Downtown Revitalization Project visit //kannapolisnc.gov/revitalization.

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