But now the town has purchased The Cary and spent millions restoring the building to its former glory.
Officials say the theater will help fill the void left when The Galaxy - a local theater known for showing independent films - closed its doors last year.
"We are gonna pick up a little of the Bollywood films we lost when the Galaxy closed. We're gonna show classic movies. We're gonna celebrate the upcoming Oscars by showing Oscar winning movies from across the years," explained Cary Cultural Arts Manager Lyman Collins.
In addition to movies, there will be stage productions and music.
The town will hold a grand opening this weekend with free admission. After that, tickets will be $5.
Renovating the building is part of a major downtown revitalization for Cary. Supporters say the intent is to bring more people downtown.
Taxpayers footed the bill for the theater renovation.
"It was $6.1 million for the acquisition of the building, the renovation, and the addition," Collins explained.
For that, Collins says, the citizens of Cary get a potential cultural and economic attraction.
"A re-use of a building that served the town many years ago and is now coming back to its roots. They get additional retail and office space here in the addition, and a lot more activity downtown, especially in the evening hours when we don't have as much going on," said Collins.
The Cary is also available to be rented out for events.