Downtown Raleigh Will Take Galaxy Cinema if it Gets Demolished

Downtown Raleigh Will Take Galaxy Cinema if it Gets Demolished

June, 25, 2012, by Jedidiah

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Photo by Abby Nardo 

Over at the N&O, there's speculation that Cary's only independent theatre, The Galaxy could face demolition soon. If the plans of a developer, which were submitted on June 14th, come through, the Galaxy could be replaced by a Harris Teeter. 

The Galaxy Cinema is a cornerstone of the independent film scene of the Triangle. The theater gets many films that miss The Colony, Rialto or Mission Valley. Also, Galaxy shows lots of Bollywood films, sells Indian beers and has built a huge Indian-American following. The Galaxy has shows international soccer matches, presidential debates and more unique one-off showings. 

Downtown Raleigh could use a theater like The Galaxy. For years, lots of locals have wanted a cineplex in the grid. We have the IMAX at Marbles that shows a handful of blockbusters each year and then Mission Valley, The Rialto, North Hills and The Colony flanking the outskirts of downtown. A theater like The Galaxy, especially with its devout following of independent and Indian-American viewers could bring a lot to the grid. 

If Cary's is willing to demolish one of its few cultural institutions to get a Harris Teeter (which there are multiple of in a 10 mile radius), Downtown Raleigh will gladly give The Galaxy a new home, an audience and some business. Send it this way, since you don't want it Cary.

Anyone care to start a petition now?


See the Galaxy Cinema {categories show="257|236|256|96" show_group="9" limit="1"}{category_name}{/categories} page.

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  • Gabe Macaluso
    06/25 08:51 PM

    The Harris Teeter should move into the vacant TJ Maxx store front.

    It is a huge area and a popular shopping center. There is also traffic signal access already installed.

    I am assuming they want to move the HT from the mall property.

  • smitty
    06/25 08:56 PM

    Great idea, putting a six screen multiplex DT.  I’m sure all of the Indians in Cary and Morrisville will be super happy to drive to downtown Raleigh. 

    My guess is it could move to Park Place in Morrisville.  A new theater is going up across the street next to the new Target at Market Center which will end up crushing the existing theater.

  • Jon Williams
    06/25 09:02 PM

    Ironic. I bought a house in that neighborhood in no small part because it’s the part of Cary with the Galaxy… Bring Udupi with you when you come.

  • Jon Williams
    06/25 09:08 PM

    What Gabe said. Fantastic suggestion. Only one block away.

  • joe
    06/25 09:09 PM

    ‘Cary” and “independent” anything seems to be an absolute…...........oxymoron

    “Homogenous” would be much, much more appropriate.

  • CMV
    06/25 10:10 PM

    How about we bring the Galaxy AND a Harris Teeter to downtown…we need both!

  • frank
    06/26 08:15 AM

    Word I’m getting is that the Galaxy’s not on a good standing with the landlord at this point which is part of the reason why they came up with the plan to knock the place over for another Harris Teeter incarnation.

    Movie theaters aren’t quite the profit machines of an Apple Store.

    There can probably take up the Indian bookings at one of the theaters in the area. The big problem with Indian films is that they seem to run 4 hours long so you’re not getting that many screenings when you book them. Maybe a matinee and an early evening slot.

  • Raleighrob
    06/26 08:49 AM

    Agree with joe—-Cary folks were lucky to have had ANYthing with ANY culture for the time that they had it.  It was bound to be swept away with another new stripmall or whatever.
    Cary: Becoming more and more like Stepford by the hour.

  • joe
    06/26 09:48 AM

    The Theater on Hillsborough Street is available.  The bookstore has closed. 

    Ideal opportunity.  NC State is full of Indian students so they can continue the Indian-American films that will draw the Indian community from they suburban enclaves to spend money at restaurants, etc.

  • Jennifer
    06/26 10:53 AM

    Cary is stupid if they demolish The Galaxy!!!  it is my favorite movie theater so I’ve got fingers crossed it doesn’t disappear!!!

  • Phil
    06/26 11:34 AM

    Why does Cary hate my money?

  • Will
    06/26 11:59 AM

    This would be perfect in downtown Raleigh!

  • Christine
    06/26 12:07 PM

    I’m torn because I love the Galaxy, but HATE the two mini-Teeters within a 5 mile drive from me.  It’s too bad that Cary hates culture.

  • Gabe Macaluso
    06/26 12:28 PM

    I do not think Cary hates culture, there are a lot of good people here, and just like the Circus closing after 40 years, there is a now a for rent sign in front of the place.

    Something is going on with the tenants, and if you watch closely Cary is trying to turn themselves into something unique. I really think they would like to be an artists community. There are workshops and artists spaces going in as I type this for artists to rent and show their works. Some of the best sculptures I have seen are in and around downtown Cary.

    Because the mainstreet in Cary used to be the old US 1, the town built around the highway, hence why there aren’t really any old buildings next to the road, and there are parking lots and old seedy looking motels.

    If you have never been and really tried to enjoy the town and what it has to offer, it gets a bad name, but there are some good things happening and it will be interesting to see how it changes in the next 3-10 years.

    Raleigh does need a grocery downtown if they want people to move and stay in an apartment, the appeal is to lose the car, but no one wants to ride a bus out to Kroger and then have to ride it back with 80 dollars worth of groceries.

    06/26 12:58 PM

    To be fair, Cary has more international restaurants and markets than anywhere else in the triangle.  They are just in beige stripmalls.

  • ct
    06/26 03:16 PM

    The situation in Cary is very simple… Galaxy’s lease is expiring, and the property owner chooses to do something else with the property—as is their right. The free market led to the Imperial being built to begin with in the 1970s, and the free market led to Madstone setting up shop in that theater 20 years later, and the free market led to Galaxy taking over when Madstone failed. The Town of Cary didn’t have a thing to do with any of those events. They just happened.

    Theaters come and go. It’s always been that way. North Hills used to have a twin. Maybe a private investor will want to invest and put a theater into downtown or Hillsborough Street, but I doubt it. I hope no one proposes that the City of Raleigh get into the theater business. They’ve already shown why they shouldn’t be in the restaurant business.

    Odds are that the Galaxy will wind up relocating somewhere, and all this will blow over.

  • Aranzazu Lascurain
    06/26 03:22 PM

    Yes, let’s start the petition!!

  • Micah
    06/26 05:05 PM

    There is a reason there are no longer cinemas downtown. It isn’t economically viable. Cinemas need a lot of square footage, and a cinema doesn’t bring in as much money per square foot compared to almost all other types of retail. If a landlord could build a 35K sq/ft 6-10 screen cinema and get $0.35 sq/ft rent, or a 35K square foot building with 15 retail tenants paying $1.00 sq/ft rent, which do you think will win out? Cinemas also need a lot of parking. Plus, the future of the industry is in such flux right now, no one knows what might happen in 5-10 years. Cinemas as we know them might cease to exist. Most investors don’t want to build or upfit on very gloomy looking odds.

  • Martin P.
    06/27 09:29 AM

    Who, New Raleigh, do you propose pay for this cinema? Is it going to just magically relocate because of your desire to have it do so?What would a petition do? Better yet, start a Facebook page. Those are always super effective.You need a business owner who is willing to put up the cash. Oh NR, so full of good ideas, but so clueless as to how the real world operates. It would almost be endearing if you weren’t so self-righteous.

  • PMasterson
    06/27 09:30 AM

    Nearby Morrisville wants to create a downtown/main street area. I bet they would be interested in siting a new Galax theater…Morrisville also has the highest percentage of Indian residents in the Triangle.

  • DPK
    06/27 02:09 PM

    I’ve heard that Waverly Place in Cary is looking to pull in a theater tenant once again as part of their renovation work.  I can foresee Galaxy moving over to Waverly as a result, especially if any of the old theater infrastructure remains from when there used to be a theater in Waverly many moons ago.

  • Bad Blake
    06/27 03:55 PM

    It is quite clear that most people commenting here don’t understand the city planning process. Cary can not prevent the owner of the property from doing this as they have by-right commercial zoning (hence, theater/grocery, etc.) Cary is actually renovating a small movie/play theater right in the middle of downtown in addition to the one they just opened down the street in the old Cary High School. Know the facts before spouting off. It will still have to be beige though :)

  • gspot
    06/28 08:16 AM

    the galaxy is an unmitigated business disaster, run by complete deadbeats.  yes, this would fit in nicely in downtown raleigh.

  • gspot
    06/28 11:38 AM

    PS - Raleigh, please send us Clyde Cooper’s BBQ, since you obviously don’t want it any more.

    The Containment Area

  • Bill
    06/28 01:12 PM

    It seems Galaxy owes $160k in back rent.  Do you still want them?

  • Steven
    06/28 03:08 PM

    For what it’s worth, the following appeared in an e-mail from Galaxy Cinema promoting their schedule for the coming week:

    “You may have heard reports that the owners of the land that Galaxy Cinema sits on have submitted plans to demolish Galaxy Cinema and move forward with other development for a corner property that has become pretty valuable as Cary has grown over the years.
    Please know that although the landowners are speculating about this possibility, at this phase it is only one possibility for the site and not a concrete plan for the future of our little arthouse home.

    “We’re so pleased and humbled by the overwhelming show of support from our patrons. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: ‘We wouldn’t be the same without you.’

    “The owners and staff of Galaxy Cinema will do all we can to continue providing you the best independent, international, and documentary films for as long as we possibly can. Maybe longer! We are also planning plenty of special events (including the July 7-8 men’s and women’s Wimbledon finals). We’ll always have the same passion for customer service, because each and every one of us sincerely loves working at the Galaxy and want the best experience possible for each and every one of our family members—YOU!

    “Hang in there with us, please, as the landowners of our site proceed with their decisions about what to do with this valuable bit of Cary real estate and as our Galaxy Cinema owners consider options to keep the vision of the Galaxy shining.”

  • Tony Woodard
    06/28 04:51 PM

    Yeah, movie theaters are going the way of the dodo. Do adults without kids actually go to the cinema anymore? It’s easier just to stream it over the net.

  • Instigation
    06/28 07:48 PM

    “Oh NR, so full of good ideas, but so clueless as to how the real world operates.”

    Hey Martin P. ...... I’ll give you half that.

    What an awesome plan - a theatre that plays INDIAN movies, trying to survive in the midst of downtown rent.  RECOMMENDATION TO THIS CLUELESS AUTHOR:  Next time you believe downtown ..... ERR THE GRID “needs” a business, you either:

    a) put up the money and see just how much THE GRID “needs” you, or
    b) post a concise and complete financial analysis and business plan, outlining in real terms just why you believe THE GRID “needs” this business.  This will allow you to make your case with real numbers.  Start with taking a business class.


    c) just admit that you look at THE GRID the way you might look at Sim City or Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood:  you just put things where you want them because hey, it’s kinda cool, man.


  • Instigation's Life Partner
    06/29 08:24 AM

    ^^^Calm down, baby.  Everything’s going to be ok.  I promise.

  • d08
    07/04 07:45 AM

    It would be a travesty if the Galaxy closed in Cary…It’s one of the shining jewels of that town… Isn’t there a Harris Teeter that’s about a minute away from Galaxy on Walnut? What would prompt such a move?

  • JohnfromCary
    07/04 01:54 PM

    Don’t blame Cary. The decision is being made by the property owner, York Properties, based in RALEIGH. So if any community should be blamed, it is Raleigh, not Cary.

    Cary has more people of Asian descent than Raleigh, and there are also many in Morrisville. The Galaxy, with its Bollywood films, and nearby businesses cater to the large number of Asian Americans in the area. If Raleigh based York doesn’t want them, perhaps they can find another home in the Cary or Morrisville area.

  • rob
    07/05 09:49 AM

    surprised Galaxy has lasted this long

    having to turn down the bass and not offend the neighbors

    Culture and Cary do not belong in the same sentence

    go wear your golf clothes or something…

  • Mary
    07/05 02:53 PM

    Downtown Raleigh = No Parking

  • Micah
    07/05 08:33 PM

    Mary=You have no idea what you are talking about. It isn’t just you though, there are apparently tons of people that think there is no parking downtown. There is TONS of parking downtown. There are five parking parking decks in a 5 block by 5 block area south of the old capital building. They are huge and I have only once seen one of them full. That time I just drove to the next deck on the neighboring block. They are usually free at night, and reasonable in the day.

  • Mital
    07/06 09:33 AM

    I would love for The Galaxy to be in DTR. I think the South Asians would come from Cary/Morrisvlle to DTR and the rest of their target market is the indie crowd that’s already in DTR and moving in at record paces.

    Let’s start a website. ?

  • Depeche
    07/06 11:10 AM

    Theatres make no money to begin with. Opening one and banking on Asian clientele is just a recipe for disaster.

  • Mital's webmaster
    07/07 01:34 PM

    Mital -

    Great idea!  A web site!  Don’t forget to circulate a petition, start a facebook group, and hold a benefit concert at…...

    wait for it…..wait for it…..


    Then, when you’re done with all the feel-good nonsense, start passing the hat around and doing the real work of raising capital, dealing with regulatory nonsense, and finding a space suitable for this thing downtown.  Start forming vendor relationships, start hiring your hipster friends who may or may not show up at work that day cause, dude, I spaced on the schedule, man…..then get ready to eat your lunch for the first 2-3 years of operation while you struggle to cover your initial investment and….etc etc.  In other words - you want this thing downtown?  YOU BRING IT TO DOWNTOWN.  You can start by paying the $120,000 in backrent allegedly owed to the current landlord.

    Cut the nonsense people - if you want something downtown - an indian movie theater, ANOTHER indie coffee shop, an artisanal cheese/bread/chocolate/cinammon/tobacco/spectacles/haberdashery/whatever, then YOU DO IT.  Or, you go the other route: insist the city/state/county pay for it, because hey - there’s tax money right there!

    Brilliant.  A web site.  BRILLIANT.

  • Sanya
    07/08 04:01 PM

    It is not that Cary doesn’t want the Galaxy. After all, Cary and Morrisville are home to most of the Indians and other Asians in the county. And there is a big following of indy films in Cary.
    However, there were not enough people in the area for the theater to get by. After all, apparently they were not paying their rent. If it can’t survive in Cary, how could it survive in downtown Raleigh, where the rent is higher and you pay for parking.
    The decision to replace the Galaxy with a Harris-Teeter was not made by the town of Cary, either the town government or by the people. It was made by the owner of the land, a business that is not even in Cary.
    I hope it will find a home which is near to the people that appreciate Bollywood films and which is less expensive. Downtown Raleigh does not fit either description.
    Why don’t you concentrate on getting something that is needed downtown. Like a large supermarket.

  • orulz
    07/08 06:03 PM

    joe, what’s this about Hillsborough Street Textbooks closing? Is this true?

    BTW the town of Cary actually IS getting into the theater business:

  • orulz
    07/08 06:15 PM

    BTW, I would say that Cary’s homogeneity is pretty much only skin deep. Visually, yes, it is extremely monotonous and boring. But as WILLNCSU said, there’s a lot of thriving cultural communities here. A huge number of ethnic restaurants, grocery stores, places of worship, etc. It’s just mostly in strip malls. Ever been to Chatham Square shopping center?

    Who would have thought that people from other countries who move to Wake would want to move where the schools are best, access to the best jobs at RTP is easiest, and everything is newer, well-maintained, and attractive?

    If the only part of Cary you’ve ever been to is Crossroads then I can see where you’d get the idea that it’s all chains and cul-de-sacs. I also freely admit that Cary is very suburban, and visually monotonous. I don’t necessarily like that, but it is what it is. But if you insist on judging a book by its cover, that’s your loss.

  • hipstercrite
    07/08 08:02 PM

    When I start seeing as many white hipsters mix with african-americans in THE GRID as you will see whites, blacks and asian mix in most any bar in Cary, *then* you can poke fun at Cary.  For all your preaching about appreciating “a little diversity”, I never see it in practice in hipster nation.


  • hipstercrite
    07/08 08:03 PM

    edit:  YOUR

  • Arthur
    07/13 11:28 AM

    There is no place in Downtown proper for a large building- unless you want to start tearing down people’s houses!

  • JohnfromCary
    07/14 04:32 PM

    The latest from today’s N&O:

    “The landlord company dropped the eviction case because the business “paid enough rent for that to happen,” said Smedes York, chairman of York Properties. A York subsidiary had claimed that Galaxy owed almost $160,000 in purported past-due rent, but neither party has disclosed how much Galaxy paid or whether the theater is caught up on rent.

    “With the eviction motion gone, Galaxy can continue operations for the time being, according to CEO Kirit Padia.”

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