When the Ram Triple Theatre closed its doors a few weeks ago, many students and frugal movie buffs lamented the loss of the only place in town where they could see a flick for a buck and a half.
But the theater's replacement might still appeal to a younger crowd, if not the penny pinchers.
Elevations, the nightclub being constructed in the 10,000-square-foot area where the Ram Triple Theatre once stood, is expected to be finished by March.
Created by former UNC student Brent Lee, the club is expected to have several large dance areas and bars located on different levels featuring martinis, cigars and jazz music.
"Renovations will begin within the next 90 days," said Mannig Bouten, owner of Franklin Street Plaza Ltd.
Ram Triple Theatre was located between Molly Maguire's Irish Pub and Tar Heel Barber Shop on Rosemary Street.
The popular theater was forced to close in early October when the lease expired with Franklin Street Plaza Ltd., who owns the space.
Joel Harper, former president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, said the Ram Triple closed for two main reasons.
"The first is that, by the time the lease was up, the place had simply fallen into disrepair," Harper said.
"The primary reason it shut down, however, is that Carmike Cinemas is shutting down theaters across the country, and Ram Triple was one of those casualties."
Robert Humphries, executive director of the Downtown Commission, said financial issues was the main reason Ram Triple had to close.
"The grander issue is that Carmike Theaters is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and so they are having to downsize their operation by closing their less profitable stores," he said.
Ram Triple had been in operation for almost 20 years.
After it closed, Bouten had planned to convert the theaters into office space.
But Harper said this would have cost too much and turning the space into a nightclub seemed like a better alternative.
George Tomasic, owner of Tar Heel Barber Shop, said he did not expect the new club to interfere with his business at all.
"I think it will be a nice club and a good addition to the area."
The City Editor can be reached