Alamo Drafthouse sells Northwest Side land where he planned to open a theater


Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas sold a piece of land near a thriving Northwest Side intersection where it planned to build a theater – a project that went up in smoke due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Austin-based theater chain company sold the approximately 3.5-acre site near La Cantera Parkway and Loop 1604 for $ 2 million last month, according to bankruptcy deeds and records.

The buyer is affiliated with USAA Real Estate and Barshop & Oles Co., who have teamed up to develop a mall anchored by an Alamo Drafthouse theater on the site. It is close to shopping at La Cantera and the University of Texas on the main San Antonio campus.

The 38,370-square-foot theater was set to be the first in San Antonio to feature Alamo Drafthouse’s large-format concept called The Big Show, according to a 2019 announcement. Plans called for 11 screens, around 900 luxury recliners, and a bar. full service with 48 local beers on tap.

But it’s unclear whether a movie theater operated by Alamo Drafthouse or another company is still under construction.

Wade McGinnis, vice president and partner of Barshop & Oles, said the mall was still in the planning stages and developers were “not at a point” of whether a theater would be part of it. A public relations firm representing Alamo Drafthouse has not responded to an investigation at press time.

The theater was scheduled to open at the end of last year, according to the 2019 announcement. But as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the spring of 2020, Alamo Drafthouse and other theater chains have closed venues, put the staff on leave, demanded rent reductions from landlords and halted new projects.

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As they gradually reopened theaters, they grappled with occupancy restrictions, delayed new releases and customer concerns about venturing out and risking exposure to the virus.

Alamo Drafthouse filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization in March due to the effects of the pandemic on its business.

Its gross revenue fell to $ 8.1 million last year as the virus spread, a sharp drop from $ 38.2 million before the pandemic, according to court documents. The company has listed real estate assets of $ 14.5 million and liabilities of nearly $ 111 million.

Alamo Drafthouse said it would shut down three theaters permanently, including a location in New Braunfels, but did not expect an interruption in operations.

As part of its Chapter 11 filing, Alamo Drafthouse offered to sell certain assets, including the Northwest Side section. A company linked to USAA Real Estate and Barshop & Oles opposed it because of covenants relating to the maintenance, insurance and use of the site.

The developers then received court approval to buy the property for $ 2 million, according to a purchase agreement in court documents. A development agreement between them and Alamo Drafthouse was abandoned.

At the time of its bankruptcy filing, Alamo Drafthouse had three theaters in San Antonio: in the Park North Mall at 618 NW Loop 410, in the Village of Stone Oak at 22806 US 281, and Westlakes at 1225 SW Loop 410.

The company shut down the Westlakes site permanently last spring, citing “the continued impact of COVID on our business.”

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