Admiral Twin Drive-In to Reopen
A Tulsa landmark is going to be saved. We're told the Admiral Twin Drive-In will reopen, hopefully this season.
Exactly 6 months ago tomorrow the nearly 60-year old structure went up in flames. Since then there have been questions about its future.
Normally the drive in would be opening the gate to customers in March, but the opening is being pushed back. The owner told me that he is 99.9% sure the drive-in will be open this season.
"We are pushing forward and I still believe that we are going to make this year," says co-owner Blake Smith.
These are words many Tulsans were afraid they would never hear. It's been six months since the Tulsa icon put on it's best show.
On a hot summer day in September of last year the landmark light up like the Fourth of July. Now it sits quietly and patiently, waiting for the lock to come off and patrons to park.
There's only one last issue, funding.
"We are doing it ourselves, we are not seeking any other investors or any donations," says Smith.
Smith has been positive on rebuilding from day one. The past six months the public has stepped up and donated cash, helping to pay for planners, engineers and architects.
"The donations that came in went in a segregated account and it's went towards the rebuilding of the drive-in," says Smith.
But the $30,000 that was raised is pocket change for this type of project.
"We already owe a sizeable amount on the land and we are going to take out eve more money to do this," says Smith, who is going to take out another loan for the rebuilding
He says to rebuild it would take $300,000 and the screen alone is $250,000.
"Drive-ins truly are an endangered species on the open road," says Michael Wallis.
A Route 66 icon himself Wallis says he's glad to see the Admiral Twin live on and maybe get jazzed up a bit.
"The Admiral Twin might not have been the most attractive of all drive-in's but it served an important purpose and need," says Wallis.
The original 9 story tall complex will be only 8 stories, it will have twin screens but will be built out of steel rather than highly flammable wood.
"We are trying to replicate what we had but maybe with a few modern improvements," says Smith.
They are hoping to get the rebuilding started in April, as it would only take 60-70 days to build the tower.
Hopefully by July Fourth the Admiral Twin will be reopened.
The Smith family are entrepreneurs, they own several other local theaters and recently purchased Magoo's in south Tulsa.
Blake stresses the money for these ventures did not come from the donations for the drive-in.