Manteo’s iconic Pioneer Theater has been sold

By on February 16, 2023

New owners to retain the name, honor the legacy

The new owners plan to keep the Pioneer Theater name.

The iconic Pioneer Theater in Manteo officially is under new ownership after it was purchased on Feb. 14 for $500,000 by what represents a partnership between two local families, the Basnights and the Hatchells.

The deal follows then-owner Buddy Creef’s December announcement that the historic theater, with more than a century of service to the community, was closing.

In a Voice interview, Michael Basnight, a representative for the buyers, confirmed the purchase, said that the name will remain the Pioneer Theater, and explained that the site will pay homage to the Creef family and theater with a museum-like feel.

“What else would you call it if you are truly trying to preserve it and utilize all the good things that it has given to the community throughout the years, which has not just been movies but so many other resources,” said Basnight. “We will be preserving it and all the things we’ve loved about it for 105 years and that starts with the name. It will forever be the Pioneer Theater.”

Basnight was not ready to talk about specific plans for the theater immediately, but he said that more information would be released in the coming days.

Creef told the Voice that closing the theater was not an easy decision.

“For the past twenty years, the theater never made money. We would mostly break-even, make a little money here, lose a little money there,” he said. “I ran the theater the way my dad did. He kept it open for family tradition, community tradition.”

Creef said that in the past few years, the theater was losing about $50,000 annually. He attributed those losses to a number of factors, including the way the film business has changed, shifts in entertainment options, and today’s hectic schedule. All that was occurring before the pandemic, but really snowballed after that, he added.

Creef indicated that a number of potential buyers emerged after his closing announcement, but he compared selling the theater to selling “a litter of puppies. If you’re any kind of person with heart, sentimentality and love for the community, you care about where things go.”

According to Creef, the Basnights and Hatchells, who have a longstanding relationship with the Creef family, reached out to him and he knew they were the right people to take it over.

“I feel very positive and very happy with the direction that this project is going. I’m happy as hell,” Creef declared. “Continuing it as we did it is no longer viable…I’m glad that we found somebody with local ties and local roots that is interested in carrying on and preserving the tradition of what we have done while always honoring the theater and our family.”


SEE ALSO: ‘Our families are excited to carry that torch’


BIDDER PRE-QUALIFICATION REQUEST:

Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


 



Comments

  • WindyBill

    A Hearty Thanks! to the new owners! I have seen movies and excellent small scale live performances there and the Pioneer works great for both! Here’s hoping for their success!!.

    Thursday, Feb 16 @ 4:47 pm
  • Talmadge Ragan

    Many of us old timers from The Colony have such great memories of seeing a movie at the end of a long week. Keeping the Pioneer active is wonderful!

    Thursday, Feb 16 @ 5:10 pm
  • Missy

    Congratulations to Jamie, Michael AND Buddy! I loved the analogy… a litter of puppies! LOL! You found a good home for that favorite puppy Buddy! Can’t wait for the Grand Opening!

    Thursday, Feb 16 @ 5:20 pm
  • Ray

    Thank you for keeping it local.

    Friday, Feb 17 @ 6:55 am
  • outis

    Alright! Some really good news for a change! Can’t wait to see the Pioneer opened up again. It has been very sad to drive past the Pioneer Theater sign, on Hwy.64, and not see what movie was playing, but just a blank sign board. This news makes me smile, and brings a tear or two of happiness to my eyes.

    Friday, Feb 17 @ 8:01 am
  • Stephanie

    So so happy to see such a vital part of all of us locals memories be carried on by other locals and not some random tourists that know nothing about it. ❤️❤️

    Friday, Feb 17 @ 8:10 am
  • Sharon

    Star Trek marathon, please.

    Friday, Feb 17 @ 2:12 pm
  • Smart Ass

    That’s great news!

    Sunday, Feb 19 @ 9:42 pm