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Sunday March 26th

Chapel Hill's Regal Timberlyne Theater closes, to be turned into medical office space

The Regal Timberlyne Theater on Oct. 12, 2020, which Cary-based developers plan on turning into office space.
Buy Photos The Regal Timberlyne Theater on Oct. 12, 2020, which Cary-based developers plan on turning into office space.

Although movie theaters across North Carolina are welcoming audiences again, Chapel Hill's Regal Timberlyne theater has permanently closed. 

Parkway Holdings, a Cary-based development company, has plans to convert the theater into a medical office building.

Timberlyne's closing comes as Regal is temporarily closing all of its 536 theaters across the U.S. as a result of economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This proposed development was reviewed by the Chapel Hill Community Design Commission. At a Sept. 22 commission meeting, representatives from Parkway Holdings sought commission members' guidance on finalizing a proper office space design. 

Pamela Porter, a partner at TMTLA Associates, a Parkway Holdings representative specialized in land planning and landscape architecture, informed commission members of the architectural and landscaping plans for the newly renovated building.

Porter said they plan to remove the two side-wings of the building and give it a modernized look.

The office replacing the Timberlyne will fill a gap of missing medical office space in the area, according to TMTLA Associate's Statement of Compliance with the Town. 

According to TMTLA, the location of the theater is adjacent to other medical offices and clinics, making the site suitable for this development. 

Commission member Megan Patnaik approved of the company's plans at the meeting. 

“I applaud you for doing what you are doing with this existing structure and not bringing more impervious surfaces to Chapel Hill,” she said at the meeting.

Commission member Christine Berndt suggested developers consider adding a staircase at the rear of the building in order to boost pedestrian access. 

Commission chairperson Susana Dancy explained the importance of the pedestrian circulation in this particular redevelopment plan. 

“There is a fair amount of redevelopment that is going on in that area, so we often look at how does one property connect to another property, so that as the changes are made, pedestrians are provided for,” Dancy said. 

Despite the loss of the theater, Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro President Aaron Nelson said the entertainment business in Chapel Hill is still surviving. He pointed out how Silverspot Cinema and The Lumina Theater were able to survive the economic hardships of COVID-19 and reopen. 

“One of our key jobs in this COVID economy is to support the businesses that will grow up in the places where other businesses have closed,” he said. 

The Timberlyne theater will remain intact until later in the year, but it will not host guests. 

Parkway Holdings can choose whether to seek further Community Design Commission approval or not. They are planning to receive the title to the property in December.  


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