San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 29th, 2014
Texas Cinema plans Alamo Drafthouse-style remake of downtown theater


Taking a page from Alamo Drafthouse’s playbook, Texas Cinema Corp. plans to overhaul the business model for its tiny downtown movie theater to offer beer and wine service and casual dining.

Located two city blocks from the courthouse square and less than a block from Texas State University, Showcase Cinema will be closed to patrons under the age of 18 and recast as a “more mature entertainment experience,” said Mitchell Roberts, the San Marcos-based company’s vice president. The plan includes physical renovations to the diminutive 9,500-square-foot building at 321 N. LBJ Drive, including removing seating and adding tables for the venue’s three screens.

“What we are planning on doing is renovating the facility, making it nicer and making it kind of more like an Alamo Drafthouse,” Roberts told the San Marcos Planning & Zoning Commission this week.

On Tuesday, the planning commission approved Texas Cinema’s application for conditional use permits to serve alcohol at Showcase and at its 12-screen Starplex Cinema on Wonder World Drive. Unlike Showcase, Starplex theater will continue to be open to movie-goers of all ages, Roberts said.

“The point is to make Showplace a different type of entertainment venue for the 18-and-up crowd … while Starplex will still be a very family-oriented theater. We want to offer more differentiation and options for customers when they come to watch a movie,” Roberts said.

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20 thoughts on “Texas Cinema plans Alamo Drafthouse-style remake of downtown theater

  1. Awesome.

    Unfortunately, Alamo Drafthouse suggests that you arrive 30 minutes early. Godzilla is 123 minutes, and Captain America is 136. The last time I looked, the city had restricted the parking out front to one hour. If you’re going to catch a matinee, better plan on moving the car a couple of times.

    I guess you could park further away, where they let you stay for 2 hours. You’ll still have to move the car once, but at least you’ll get some exercise.

    Don’t worry about moving the car to visit any other stores after the movie; they’re closing up shop pretty fast anyway.

  2. Fortunately however, Texas State has a brand new garage where you can park all day for a movie marathon without having to worry about moving your car or a ticket.

  3. Then I guess we’d better stop complaining about the university, if they are going to bring us the solutions the city will only talk about for decades on end.

  4. Look how well the free market works! We’ll get a boozy movie house and get to keep our $2.5 million. Astonishing.

  5. The parking garage on University and Edward Gary is a pay to park garage, and charges more depending on length of time. Which would add something like $5+ more to the cost of going to the movies.

  6. Wake up people… this is about money!

    Three years ago Alamo Drafthouse wanted to buy the old Target location at Springtown way… which would have been an excellent use of that still empty location… but the Downtown Alliance voted it down because they were afraid that it would draw the students away from downtown. If I remember correctly this guy was on that committee. Since practically all of the business in Spring town way have failed. Good call, Downtown Alliance, way to protect your own self interest at the expense of the permanent citizens!

    Non students cannot park on campus… parking permits are a revenue generating stream for the almighty Board of Regents of Texas State university! So in all likelihood, this, like most other development in San Marcos is aimed at pandering to the excessive appetites of transient students rather that serving the needs of people who actually live here… and pay taxes… permanently!

    The city government of this town is corrupt to the core. It is obvious to me they exist solely to do the bidding of the almighty Board of Regents of Texas State University. They are puppets of the development money, only interested in a buck. In their head long rush to transform San Marcos into Austin, they are going to ruin the quality of life for those of us who actually live here for longer than four years.

    Arise my fellow San Martians! Next time you vote REMEMBER CADE”S CAMP! Remember how the city botched that! Allowing the building of high rise $900 per bedroom student housing along a federally protected river…. keeping it quite… keeping it off the radar until the deal was done.

    Arise my fellow San Martians! Get off yer fannies and vote the money grubbing bureaucrats that are prostituting our fair city out to the developers and taxing the residents into oblivion to do it… out of office!


  7. Great news for the downtown theater – close to Texas State and open to 18 and up seems like a good business move. However, serving alcohol at the Starplex and continuing to call it a “family atmosphere” is a mistake. A good deal of the movie goers are teens and tweens dropped off by their parents to attend a movie with friends. Maybe having alcohol at movies that start after 9pm – but early shows with alcohol? Is that necessary?

  8. To clarify, since I do work at said theater, the parking times on the street are one hour but only from 8-5 on weekdays, whereas they’re open all hours on the weekends. Since our theater opens after 6 during weekdays people can park along the streets. That’s not saying there isn’t a parking problem, but it’s not like we get huge amounts of business regularly either. The construction doesn’t help.

  9. Pseudonyms have long been used by valid writers. Benjamin Franklin, Ayn Rand, Shakespeare. I I have been a well known public employee here for 14 years. It is valid for me to express an opinion without fear of being fired.

    Three years ago The Alamo Drafthouse wanted to install the still empty former Target location at Springtown Way… but the SM Downtown Alliance successfully lobbied against it. They wanted to keep that revenue for themselves. That would have been an excellent venue for such a business (with plenty of FREE parking) and would have helped to save the surrounding businesses that were an asset to the SM community beyond just the downtown/student crowd. But we couldn’t have that, could we… that would have been too logical. This is a corrupt move driven by the downtown alliance and out of town venture capitalist to suck money out of students,

    But that’s how SM politics work. If it is new and shiny and intended for students or the university, The zoning laws suddenly get changed and it gets built. If it is about serving the needs of this community at large… beyond the university and the downtown crowd… it is ignored.

    Instead, we get whatever happens to be left over. We get over priced marginal city services and utilities… continued cutbacks in trash pickup… unrestricted development that floods our neighborhoods… back-in street parking that students and out of town visitors do not understand and round about free-for-all death traps… We get locked out of the river by development aimed at students and tourists. We get flashy new website moderators that won’t publish a valid comment, because it offers a dissenting view that isn’t just fluffy “happy news” and challenges the notion that San Marcos should just naturally become a carbon copy of Austin.

    San Marcos used to be a great place to live… for everyone… not just the students and the downtown crowd. If we are not careful we are going to ruin this town.

  10. I can’t recall meeting anyone, other than perhaps the mayor and a couple of her cohorts, who thought it was a good idea to subsidize a movie theater, after subsidizing the relocation of Target.

    Perhaps the downtown alliance had their own reasons. They are entitled to that. Most of us were just sick of our tax money going to minimum wage employers.

    No grand conspiracy kept the Alamo Drafthouse out. If this (unsubsidized) effort is successful, and leads to a local company competing with Alamo (which many people have started to say has gone downhill), all the better.

  11. Mr. McCavity, or whoever the hell you are, you have your facts wrong. Penny’s, Target, and Bealls had left Springtown long before The Alamo Drafthouse began speaking with Mayor Susan about being paid to bring minimum wage jobs to San Marcos. If Alamo Drafthouse had wanted to build with their own money, they would have been welcome with open arms. As it is we are about to get an Alamo Drafthouse style business without a penny of taxpayer subsidies. Quite frankly I think it is more important to preserve a vibrant downtown San Marcos that an old warnout shopping center

  12. Better to bring low-wage jobs to this town than none at all. San Marcos’s employment growth is desperately slow. An Alamo Drafthouse at Springtown would have been a real shot in the arm for that shopping center and for the San Marcos economy since it would have inspired more growth in the area. But I guess having an empty eyesore of a mall is far more preferable to making a decent investment in the future of this town’s economy.

    Enjoy the faux drafthouse, since Texas Cinemas has made a concerted effort to avoid high-quality film for low-quality cashgrabs.

  13. Actually, unemployment here has been low for a loooooooooooooong time. There are plenty of low wage retail jobs. A few more wouldn’t be a shot in the arm. Maybe a punch in the nuts.

  14. And now Torchy’s is coming in the old post office location. Wow! No reason to ever go to Austin!

  15. What San Marcos *really* needs is more mattress stores…..thank goodness for that new one in front of Academy! Prior to that one opening, there were barely two mattress stores in that one mile stretch of I-35… at least there are three. Here’s hoping for at least half a dozen more!

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