Cinemark announced last month it plans to build a 14-screen theater in a development planned along I-35 between Highway 6 and New Road.

The Cinemark movie theater chain has confirmed it plans to place a 14-screen complex near Interstate 35 and West Loop 340 that will feature reserved seating in all auditoriums, luxury loungers with footrests and a lobby lounge with drink options to include alcohol.

The venue, planned for completion in spring next year, would anchor a 143-acre mixed-use development off I-35 between New Road and West Loop 340, near Central Texas Marketplace, according to a Cinemark press release. Plans for the development by NewQuest Properties, known as Cottonwood Creek Market, include more than 285,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and residential components, according to the press release.

“We are proud to work with our longtime partner, NewQuest, to bring the Waco community the ultimate moviegoing experience with our new Cinemark location coming soon to Central Texas,” Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi wrote in the press release. “With our Luxury Lounger recliners, XD auditorium and more, Cinemark will give guests the opportunity to enjoy the newest films in one of the most innovative viewing environments.”

Plano-based Cinemark’s recliners are “electric-powered, plush and oversize” and equipped with footrests and cup holders,” according to the press release.

Austen Baldridge, a Baylor University graduate marketing the site for NewQuest, did not return messages late Tuesday. He confirmed a month ago developers are “targeting entertainment groups.” Brad Elmore, who is working with Baldridge at NewQuest, said Tuesday he could not comment.

“We are pleased to welcome Cinemark to Cottonwood Creek Market,” NewQuest managing partner Steve Alvis wrote in the press release. “The Cinemark theater will anchor our entertainment wing, which will have an exciting collection of restaurants and retail in a beautifully landscaped environment.”

In its release, Cinemark said the Waco property’s amenities would include Cinemark XD auditoriums; Luxury Loungers in all auditoriums; reserved seating in all auditoriums, with online and kiosk ticketing; wall-to-wall screens and enhanced sound systems; and 4K digital production powered by Barco with RealD 3D capability, according to the press release.

Bland Cromwell, a local commercial real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, said the site Cinemark and NewQuest have chosen is prime.

“I like the area. Anything with interstate access is getting a lot of attention right now,” Cromwell said. “I think we all agree that one think we’re lacking a little bit is family entertainment, and this would fall into that realm. We’re getting large enough that there is greater demand.”

He is marketing acreage almost directly across the interstate from Central Texas Marketplace, which sprawls along West Loop 340 from I-35 to Bagby Avenue.

Meanwhile, Pat Farrar, with the Reid-Peevey Company real estate firm, said the new 14-screen theater represents yet another domino falling.

“I know this deal has been more than a year in the making, probably closer to two, and there is no doubt Cinemark had done its homework,” Farrar said.

He said the Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, at State Highway 6 and Interstate 35, the 45,000-seat McLane Stadium at Lake Brazos and I-35, and continued growth in the Hewitt-Woodway corridor have shifted the epicenter of local development from Waco and Valley Mills drives westward.

Unlike other communities, Waco has lagged in seeing major retail development cluster along Interstate 35, Farrar said. That trend is turning, and the interstate through town is not viewed as the “armpit” it once was, he said.

“We’re definitely seeing retailers interested in becoming what might be described as a regional draw,” Farrar said.

Cottonwood Creek Market may find itself well-positioned to cater to that pent-up demand.

“That’s a hot area, and the theater will be exciting,” he said.

Two 16-screen theaters now operate in Greater Waco, the Regal Jewel Stadium 16 on Highway 84 and the AMC Galaxy 16 on South Valley Mills Drive. The renovated Waco Hippodrome Theatre downtown offers plush seating and in-theater food and drink service. Regal and AMC have also started alcohol sales.

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