Alamo Drafthouse to anchor ‘cinema destination’ development in Fayetteville

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,066 views 

This rendering depicts The Aronson, a mixed-used project in development on Arkansas Highway 112 in Fayetteville.

Texas-based theater chain Alamo Drafthouse Cinema announced Thursday (Feb. 15) its first Arkansas theater, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema + Drive-In in Fayetteville, with franchise partner Catchlight Entertainment.

According to a news release, the Austin-based cinema-eatery plans to open the property in 2024. The company will commemorate the announcement with a special outdoor screening of Universal Pictures’ “Cocaine Bear” on Feb. 23.

The Fayetteville development is the company’s first Arkansas location and its first permanent drive-in theater. In addition to the drive-in screen, the site will feature 798 luxury recliner seats across eight theaters equipped with 4k digital projection.

The project is at the site of the former 112 Drive-In at 3552 Highway 112 North. According to Washington County property records, Little Rock developer Dave Anderson bought the 36-acre property for $5.5 million this past August.

The cinema will be part of a new mixed-use entertainment destination from Catchlight Entertainment called The Aronson. Catchlight Entertainment is a partnership between Anderson’s Time Warp Enterprises (TWE) and Chris Akbari’s ITEX Group in Texas.

Based in Houston, ITEX is a private investment firm focused on developing multifamily and single-family housing in high-growth Sunbelt markets. The company has successfully developed over 9,000 units and owns 8,900 units valued at over $800 million.

TWE is a privately held Litte Rock firm with experience in entertainment, media and cinema operations. Anderson is a former television producer and cinema executive.

According to the release, The Aronson will include multifamily, entertainment and retail components and be bike and pedestrian friendly. It will include more than 200 rental homes.

The developers said the project is named for cinema pioneer and Arkansas native Max Aronson.

“This is more than the best movie theater in Arkansas — we’re planning the best cinema destination in America,” Anderson said in a statement. “Fayetteville will be home to the absolute pinnacle of experiential moviegoing, pairing what is already known as ‘the best theater in the world’ with the area’s beloved drive-in roots. Even better, it will all anchor The Aronson, a premier entertainment community coming in 2024.”

The release did not disclose investment details.