Historic venue set to reopen in Kannapolis – Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS – The entertainment options around Kannapolis are expanding this fall thanks to the restoration of a historic venue.

The team behind the Swanee Theater renovation have announced that they are preparing for a soft opening in September before officially hosting its grand opening on November 1st.

The theater has gone through numerous iterations since it was first completed in 1940. Initially it served as a movie theater until 1971, then it was used for other community purposes before renovations in the 1990s saw it serve as the community’s visitor and training center.

However, by the 2010s the building had been vacated and plans for its future were still unclear.

Enter Ken Lingafelt, part of a development team with Kent Gregory who acquired the Swanee Theater through his group West Avenue Entertainment, LLC.

Lingafelt and manager Macy Burleyson have put time and effort into bringing the old theater back to prominence, and as construction inside the facility is nearing completion, new details about future plans have emerged.

One of the highlights of the venue will be the launch of an iHeart Radio recording station on the ground floor of the facility.

Lingafelt has also ensured that the historic building’s inner beauty can be used for other purposes. Rooms for wedding receptions of the bride and groom were created and the main auditorium is now equipped for weddings.

A bar is in the works on the ground floor, which will be located where the concession and ticket booths used to be.

These are all interesting elements of the Swanee, but the main focus for Lingafelt throughout has been the main music hall where the cinema once stood.

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Inside, walls of the theater have been preserved, capturing the acoustics of bands playing below. Pink curtains will further dampen the noise, brand new hanging lights have been fitted to the ceiling and a specially designed sound booth has been erected, all complementing an impressive front and center main stage.

Lingafelt said he envisions musical acts of all genres coming to Swanee, from gospel to southern rock with many options in between.

Located in the heart of the West Avenue district, which Lingafelt and his team have played such a significant role in developing, the Swanee is a perfect complement to the current entertainment options in the community.

He pointed out that on weekends a visitor to the area could catch a baseball game in the afternoon, catch a show in the early evening, and end the evening with dinner or a drink at one of the nearby spots across the street, emphasizing the Need for a place at this stage of growth of the region.

Of course, while growth is always important for developers, Lingafelt is also originally from Kannapolis and is more than happy to remember the venue’s roots and play a role in its restoration and upkeep.

The installation of a marquee in front of the venue, similar to the one that once stood outside the Swanee in the mid-20th century, is said to be underway soon. Additionally, Lingafelt is considering airing some of the old previews, ads, and films that were popular in cinemas decades ago.

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