The Starlite Drive-In is saved: Anonymous Wichitan purchases theater

The Starlite Drive-In, which closed in October, has been purchased by a local who intends to keep it open as a drive-in, announced Landmark Commercial Real Estate, a Wichita-based group that brokered the deal.

City council member James Clendenin, who represents south Wichita, went to great lengths to negotiate a deal.

“Having our original buyer recognize the passion the Wichita Community has for the Starlite, along with having been granted permission to explore the possibilities of allowing this landmark to remain as such after consulting with my attorney ... a team of people looked to find a way to keep it as a drive-in theatre.

Then Landmark Commercial Real Estate agent Marc Knowles and council member James Clendenin teamed up to locate a new anonymous local buyer.

The city — led by council member James Clendenin and Mayor Jeff Longwell — made a public plea in early November to stop the demolition of the Starlite.

The two-screen outdoor theater, which is one of only five still operating in the state — the only one in south-central Kansas — successfully navigated the transition to digital projectors in 2013 thanks to an extensive community fundraising effort.

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