Developers of a 143-acre site on South Interstate 35 say they hope to add a high-tech bowling venue as a third anchor to their proposed entertainment center, along with Topgolf and a 14-screen Cinemark movie theater.
A news release Monday from Houston-based NewQuest referred to the prospect as a “nationally known bowling and family-dining entertainment brand.”
“Cottonwood Creek Market will be the only development of its type in the country with these three anchors,” NewQuest vice president Austen Baldridge stated in the release. “It’s an unprecedented lineup.”
Baldridge, a Baylor University graduate, continues to market the site along southbound Interstate 35, between New Road and State Highway 6, near Central Texas Marketplace.
At 285,000 square feet, it would feature the multi-screen Cinemark “with wall-to-wall screens and enhanced sound systems and two XD auditoriums,” the news release stated.
“The perks would include luxury loungers, reserved seating and expanded food and beverage options,” the NewQuest statement continued.
Topgolf, known for its towering, climate-controlled driving ranges, high-tech ball tracking and food and drink options, recently announced it would open one of its new backyard-style, single-story concepts locally. A prototype is under construction in the Village at Riverwatch in Augusta, Georgia.
Besides the weatherproof hitting bays, Waco’s Topgolf would include Toptracer ball-tracing technology as well as life-sized Jenga and other yard games “plus gathering spaces with fire pits and picnic-style dining areas,” said NewQuest, confirming Topgolf’s presence in Cottonwood Creek Market, a project for which NewQuest is pursuing $5 million in tax breaks from the City of Waco.
NewQuest predicts a completed project by winter.
“Topgolf and NewQuest spent nearly 18 months negotiating the deal,” said the release, with Steve Greenberg of The Retail Connection, representing Topgolf in the discussions, according to the release. Steve Alvis, NewQuest Properties’ managing partner, represented the developer.
“We are going after the ‘best of the best’ for this format,” Baldridge stated. “NewQuest recognized the opportunity that Waco was an exploding market that could support multiple entertainment concepts coming on line at the same time.
He did not respond to phone and email messages seeking additional comment and more details about the bowling center NewQuest is pursuing. Negotiations toward landing the prospect “are moving into the final stretch,” the release said.
Meanwhile, Waco businessman Mark Schulman has pulled the plug, at least temporarily, on his plans for $25 million entertainment center, including movie theater and bowling lanes, on the northbound side of I-35 near Loop 340. Real estate agent Bland Cromwell confirmed recently Schulman failed to meet a funding deadline to proceed with his Movie Bowl Grille. Schulman, in an interview, said he has not given up the idea of placing such an attraction in his hometown.
A local real estate agent, who did not want to be quoted by name because he is not involved in the deal, said he has heard “rumblings” that Dallas-based Main Event, which offers bowling, billiards, laser tag and arcade games, is pondering Waco, possibly in connection with the Cinemark-anchored site.
The Main Event website includes a fact sheet saying its properties feature “chef inspired dining, over 100 virtual and interactive games, multi-level laser tag and state-of-the art bowling. Select locations, it says, include billiards, gravity ropes, rock climbing, mini-golf, bocce ball, karaoke and “the first ever U.S. free-roam, multi-player virtual reality game, V Play Reality.”
Centers range from 45,000 to 75,000 square feet in size, and their Eat.Bowl.Play motto may expand to include full-service catering with private rooms, free wifi “and the latest audiovisual technology for holiday parties, company meetings, team-building exercises, social gatherings, birthday celebrations and large group events,” according to the website.
A site plan provided by NewQuest shows the proposed location of the movie theater and the Topgolf range, as well as a 48,559-square-foot entertainment complex identified on the map as being under negotiation.
The bowling centers at Main Event include “competitive play and scoring and lounge areas where players can eat and relax.” Each center hosts “FUNleagues,” the website states, “which are non-competitive eight-week bowling leagues during the spring, fall and winter.” Sunday through Thursday are FUNleague nights featuring food and beverage specials.
Bobby Horner, who oversees the city of Waco’s inspection services department, said he likewise has heard mention of Main Event, though he knew no specifics Monday about the venture’s interest in the New Road site.
Local real estate agent Raynor Campbell said he believes the three-anchor Cottonwood Creek Market will shock NewQuest, Cinemark and Topgolf with its drawing power. He cited as positives its address on I-35 and proximity to Central Texas Marketplace.
Campbell confirmed he is working with a local investment group that envisions yet another entertainment destination, but he envisions no overlap. He said the concept “would be nothing like what is in Waco or what is proposed.”
Local real estate agent Josh Carter references the emerging Cinemark-anchored megacenter in his marketing of the vacant Carl’s Jr. building at 4017 Jack Kultgen Expressway, which is priced at $1.6 million.