Houston-area company plans Wonderland entertainment development

The new venue will fill shuttered retail space and include a mix of food, beverage and gaming attractions.

A Baytown company has big plans for Wonderland of the Americas. (CARLOS JAVIER SANCHEZ | SABJ, SABJ)

SAN ANTONIO – A Houston-area company plans to redevelop retail space inside Wonderland of the Americas into a new entertainment venue.

The new tenant is “taking up a large amount of space” Balcones Heights Mayor Suzanne de Leon said.

AR’s Entertainment Hub owner Archie Wright said the company plans to convert roughly 58,000 square feet on the upper floor of Wonderland that housed a retail outlet store. Work is set to begin soon, and construction could be completed before the end of the year.

A similar venue in Baytown features a restaurant, bar, and several games and attractions, including bowling, a roller rink, miniature golf, bumper cars and laser tag. It caters to families and business groups.

Wright would not disclose the development cost for the Wonderland project but said it’s a multimillion-dollar investment.

Wonderland owners, which now includes the City of Balcones Heights, are working to give the more than 60-year-old mall new life.

AR’s Entertainment Hub was exploring potential expansion when Wonderland representatives reached out about the Balcones Heights property.

“We took a look at the area, and we really liked the city,” Wright said. “We can definitely bring some added entertainment value to that city.”

The latest tenant recruitment win follows a decision by the Woodlawn Theatre to move its operations to Wonderland, taking over two auditoriums and concessions space previously occupied by Santikos Entertainment.

Late last year, Balcones Heights invested $5 million to secure a nearly 46% ownership stake in Wonderland.

In July, the Balcones Heights Economic Development Corp. recommended the city move its municipal operations to Wonderland.

Balcones Heights officials have worked for well over a year with the private investor group that now has an approximately 54% interest in Wonderland to reposition the property as an entertainment destination.

“Wonderland’s success has always been tied to the city’s economic success because it is the largest property in Balcones Heights,” de Leon said.

Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.

Click here to read the full story in the San Antonio Business Journal.

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