Wichita's Starlite Drive-In closes for good

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Starlite Drive-In/Facebook Starlite Drive-In/Facebook

The Starlite Drive-In is no more. 

The south Wichita drive-in theater announced Tuesday on Facebook that the season concluded on October 13 and the theater is permanently closed. 

"This was a difficult decision many years in the making with declining attendance and rapidly rising costs of maintenance and technology," the theater's Facebook post says. "We were honored to serve the community and we thank all of our patrons and staff."

The news came as surprise to many, including city leaders, who said they had heard no discussion of the closure. Last summer, Starlite's owner filed for a zoning change that would allow for commercial and industrial uses for the property.

But at the time, he said Starlite was open and made no mention of closing the property.

The Sedgwick County Appraiser's Office lists the the drive-in property to be worth more than $500,000. Neighboring organizations to Starlite said that figure surprised them, but also said they'd heard rumors about the land's future.

"I understand that there's a conglomerate of men that are looking to buy and develop this whole area," said Marrell Cornwell, Bishop at First Pentecostal Church.

A public auction for concession equipment, screens and other items is scheduled for November 13 at 10 a.m. 

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