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Houston-area firm plans Wonderland entertainment development

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SAN ANTONIO – A Houston-area company plans to redevelop retail space inside Wonderland of the Americas into a new entertainment venue.

The new tenant “takes up a large amount of space,” said Balcones Heights Mayor Suzanne de Leon.

Archie Wright, owner of AR’s Entertainment Hub, said the company plans to convert approximately 58,000 square feet on Wonderland’s upper floor which housed a retail store. Work should start soon and construction could be completed before the end of the year.

A similar location in Baytown features a restaurant, bar, and several games and attractions, including bowling, skating rink, miniature golf, bumper cars, and laser tag. It caters to families and business groups.

Wright did not disclose the cost to develop the Wonderland project, but said it was a multi-million dollar investment.

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The owners of Wonderland, which now includes the city of Balcones Heights, are working to breathe new life into the 60+ year old mall.

AR’s entertainment center was exploring a potential expansion when representatives from Wonderland contacted the Balcones Heights property.

“We looked around the area and really liked the city,” Wright said. “We can definitely bring additional entertainment value to this city.”

The latest tenant hire follows the Woodlawn Theater’s decision to move its operations to Wonderland, taking over two auditoriums and concessions previously occupied by Santikos Entertainment.

Late last year, Balcones Heights invested $5 million to secure a nearly 46% stake in Wonderland.

In July, the Balcones Heights Economic Development Corp. recommended that the city move its municipal operations to Wonderland.

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Balcones Heights officials worked for more than a year with the private investor group that now owns an approximately 54% stake in Wonderland to reposition the property as an entertainment destination.

“Wonderland’s success has always been tied to the economic success of the city because it’s the largest property in Balcones Heights,” de Leon said.

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

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

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