The state is about to get another memory lane destination.
Chuck Talley, who owns the Graham Cinema in downtown Graham, told the Burlington Times-News that he wants to open a drive-in movie theater off Interstate 40/85. He expects to submit site plans soon for the entertainment destination that will be near exit 150, or the Haw River exit. That’s about a 30-mile drive from Durham.
The complex will have five screens and parking to accommodate 1,000 cars. There also have a restaurant, playground and a mini-golf course. It’s going the be called the I-40 Drive-In, Talley said. He hopes to break ground by early spring and the drive-in could be open by the end of the year or by early 2019.
Talley is partnering with Martin Murray on the project. Murray, who originally is from Alamance County, now lives in Texas and own three drive-ins there. One of them, the Galaxy Drive-In Theater in Ennis, Texas is about 35 miles outside of Dallas and he describes it as “the most popular drive-in in the world,” according to an interview he gave to the Alamance News.
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“Maybe I’ve got a Mayberry mentality,” Murray said.
The state once had about 200 drive-ins but now there are only five remaining, according to Tripsavvy.com. The closest one to Durham is the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre in Henderson, about a 40-mile trip.
Durham once had as many as nine drive-in theaters, the last of which — the Starlite Drive-In Theater off East Club Boulevard — closed in March 2007.
The other remaining drive-in theaters in the state can be found in Albemarle, Eden, Kings Mountain and Shelby.
The new cineplex will be the largest of its kind in the state.