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Curtain coming down on JC's Real to Reel Theater

Staff Report • Jun 27, 2020 at 2:00 PM

JOHNSON CITY — The Real to Reel Theater is closing after four decades.

“The family-owned and -operated company has proudly served our city and the surrounding areas since 1982, and we thank them for wonderful service and entertainment,” Peerless Properties & Development said in a news release Friday.

Peerless officials said the company plans to begin immediately revitalizing the movie theater’s building, which is located at 130 W. Springbrook Drive.

Real to Reel, which was Johnson City’s only independently owned and operated movie theater, converted to a digital projection system more than a decade ago.

The new system allowed the theater to showcase RealD and 3-D films for the first time.

“3-D has gotten to be a very big commodity in the theater business, so it behooved us to get one in as soon as possible,” Paul Wylie, owner of Real to Reel, told the Johnson City Press in 2009.

Wylie’s family once owned four drive-in theaters in the area. The first was built by his father, Bernie, on King Springs Road.

He later built the Twin-Cities Drive-in on the Elizabethton Highway, the Tri-Cities Drive-In at the junction of the Kingsport and Bristol highways and the Skyline on the Jonesborough Highway.

Paul Wylie took over the Skyline operation after his father’s death in the late 1950s.

The Peerless Centre has undergone a major expansion over last several years with specialty retail shops and mixed-use office space. The Peerless Steakhouse Grill, Tavern Room 38 and a bakery are still in development and are expected to open once the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stabilizes.

The newest addition to the center is the Johnson City Veterans Affairs office, which begins construction this month.

Gary Kalogeros, chief managing partner of Peerless Properties, said his company is looking to recruit a popular food market or entertainment provider to the former movie theater’s location.


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