EVO Entertainment of San Marcos is creating a high-tech entertainment center in Schertz at Interstate 35 and Wiederstein Road. Santikos Entertainment is building another complex on the other side of the road in Cibolo. Courtesy illustration

Two homegrown Central Texas movie-theater and entertainment-center operators are facing off in the rapidly growing Schertz/Cibolo area.

EVO Entertainment Group of San Marcos recently announced it would build a high-tech, 10-screen cinema and 16-lane bowling alley with a host of amenities in Schertz at the northeast corner of Interstate 35 and Wiederstein Road.

It’s part of the nearly 100-acre Wiederstein Ranch mixed-use development near Bussey’s Flea Market.

The project, expected to open in February 2019, doubles the number of leisure options for residents.

Santikos Entertainment of San Antonio broke ground in fall 2017 on a similar combination of theaters, flashy bowling and other entertainment options at the southeast corner of Wiederstein and I-35, also part of a larger mixed-use development called Cibolo Crossing.

The EVO Entertainment Center will include dine-in cinema with recliner seating, advanced bowling lanes, video and arcade games, laser tag and a virtual-reality space in 73,000 square feet. A restaurant, full bar, sitting outdoors near fire pits, and private-event spaces also will be featured.

Mitchell Roberts, EVO’s CEO, was unavailable for an interview, but in a written statement said the idea was to create an “entertainment destination.” The company manages complexes in San Marcos, New Braunfels and Kyle.

The address for the Schertz location is 18658 I-35 North.

“Our company has called Central Texas home since the very beginning, and Schertz has always seemed like a perfect match,” Roberts said in a news release. “When we first developed the cinema-hybrid model, we did so with (an) outstanding guest experience in mind and have since made some truly innovative and impressive improvements to the concept.”

The entertainment center will sit on about 10 acres of Wiederstein Ranch. Alabama-based Five Star Development is expected to reveal additional projects and tenants for the rest of the area in the coming months.

Among the possible uses are restaurants, mixed retail, one or more hotels, apartments and offices.

“I think the fact that Schertz/Cibolo are located where they are in the I-35 corridor, they’re looking at a lot of growth” in the number and types of businesses, said Kyle Kinateder, executive director of Schertz Economic Development Corp. “With Wiederstein Ranch going forward, that’s generated the most interest and attention.”

EVO’s multifaceted entertainment complex closely mirrors the Santikos undertaking, which will include 12 movie screens, 16 lanes of bowling, live music, an arcade, dining and other amenities on 10 acres, all part of the larger Cibolo Crossing development on the other side of Wiederstein.

The Schertz venture has been in the works for three years, EVO indicated; Cibolo economic development officials said they’ve planned the Santikos endeavor for five years. If construction goes as planned, the two should open within months of each another in February for EVO and spring for Santikos.

According to www.towncharts.com, which uses the latest data from the U.S. Census bureau, the Schertz-Cibolo area in December 2017 had a population of 81,704. The two cities and their surroundings experienced a 17 percent population increase from 2010 to 2016, according to officials.

“We attract new companies that bring new development into our community and new jobs,” Kinateder said. The influx of residents and more commuters, in turn, creates the demand for more retail, he added.

Such an approach helps keep Schertz property taxes in check, officials said.

“There has been a significant climb in our sales-tax base for many years,” Kinateder said. More than 50 percent of the Schertz city budget comes from sales taxes and the Wiederstein Ranch retail component will add to the figure.

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