Santikos eyes major westward expansion and redevelopment

San Antonio company is pursuing projects that could represent an investment of $30 million or more.

File: Santikos opened its 10th movie theater in 2021 in the former site of the Alamo Drafthouse along Interstate 35 in New Braunfels. (Santikos)

SAN ANTONIO – After surviving a more than $50 million loss tied to the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 that put some of its growth plans on hold, San Antonio-based Santikos Entertainment is now pursuing new ground-up expansion in one of the city’s fastest-growing areas.

The company has signed a letter of intent for a roughly seven-acre site near State Highway 211 and Potranco Road in Far West San Antonio for a venue that could cost upwards of $25 million to construct.

“We’re going through our due diligence process right now,” Santikos CEO Tim Handren said.

While Santikos in the preliminary stage at this point, Handren said the project could include as many as nine auditoriums, a large arcade, bowling lanes and a bar area.

“We’ll need about six months to get through the entitlements process and everything we have to go through, but I’m excited about it,” Handren said, noting that the area in question is expected to gain about 40,000 new homes.

Meanwhile Santikos is also advancing plans for a major makeover of its Silverado theater property near West Loop 1604 and Bandera Road, a separate investment that could reach $6 million. Work on the multiphase project is set to begin Sept. 6.

The transformation will include new reclined seating as well as updated sound and projection technology. Three of the auditoriums will be redesigned as AVX theaters to include enhanced sound and oversized screens.

As part of the remodel, a portion of the building will be converted into a new family entertainment center to include 14 bowling lanes — two of them carved out as part of a separate VIP area. The makeover will also include the addition of three party rooms, a new sports bar and an expanded arcade area, as well as new concession and kitchen upgrades.

“You won’t recognize anything on the inside when we’re done,” Handren said, noting that there were plans to improve the theater just prior to the pandemic. “But we weren’t thinking quite this bold.”

There have been some portfolio adjustments amid the pandemic. While Santikos has closed its Bijou Cinema Bistro at Wonderland of the Americas in Balcones Heights, it’s also added some properties.

Last year, the company expanded its footprint to New Braunfels, taking over space previously occupied by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. It also acquired the site of another former Alamo Drafthouse Cinema near Loop 410 and Highway 151.

Asked where Santikos is now compared to where it was prior to the pandemic, Handren said, “We are probably as good or better than we were before COVID economically. We’ve had a really good year.”

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

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

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