Waco theater to reopen with outdoor movie screening area

by Bob Deutsch

Waco theater to reopen with outdoor movie screening area

The Waco Hippodrome on Austin Avenue in the Texas town of the theater’s namesake has remained boarded and shuttered since 2010. But, now, the nearly 100-year-old theater on the list at the National Register of Historic Places has been bought with plans of grand renovation, according to the Waco Tribune.

Shane and Cody Turner have made a proposal to spend $2.1 million to reopen the rustic theater and make it better than it was before it closed. The brothers plan to create a three-story annex including a full kitchen, restaurant and an outdoor event arena in addition to the interior theater.

As of now, the Turner brothers are renovating the building under contract of the Waco Performing Arts Company, which ran the theater from the 1980s until its financial closing. The arrangement allows the company to produce and book theatrical productions, in addition the Turners’ company – Waco Hippodrome Inc. – can bring in musical acts and screen classic and cult films in outdoor event space.

“Our interest in the property is that it will draw more people downtown,” Shane Turner, who renovates buildings with his brother, told the source. “The theater holds around 750, and when you have a good show going on, that’s 750 people walking the streets of downtown. You can only imagine all the restaurants and retail that will benefit. I think it will give people a different view of downtown.”

By investing in high-quality outdoor movie screens, the owners of the Hippodrome can ensure that it gets the attendance it needs by hosting events in its attached amphitheater, which can hold more attendees than inside.

By doing this, the entire downtown Waco area will benefit from the rise in economic activity.

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