Update on 11/11/09: The Park North Alamo Drafthouse will open November 20.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is opening a new movie theater in November in the Market at Park North. Park North is located on Loop 410 between Blanco Road and San Pedro next to North Star Mall. The theater will have six screens and will show first-run and independent films while offering in-theatre food and beverage service including beer and wine. The theater chain currently has one San Antonio location, Alamo Westlakes, at 1255 SW Loop 410. In addition to first-run movies Alamo Westlakes sponsors special events which currently include Anime on Monday, Horrific Film Fest, Weird Wednesday, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Retro Theater.
The Market building is located on the site of the former Central Park Mall. I have fond memories of taking my kids to the mall in the early 1990’s to ride on the carousel, visit the pet store, and eat pizza and play games. Our mommy-toddler group met in the food court and we went to birthday parties at Funtasia.
The Market building seems to offer the only remaining opportunity within the development for a walkable community-oriented space where mommy-toddler groups might congregate. A friend observed that the Park North designers took the mall concept and then did everything the opposite way. Instead of a food court there is an outer ring of stand-alone chain restaurants. Inside the restaurant ring is a maze of parking lots, roads and strip centers. The parking is located in the middle of the retail spaces rather than around the outside. I can’t imagine walking from one end of the complex to the other. Even driving through the space is difficult. A few weeks ago my daughter attempted to drive from North Star Mall, where she was shopping, to meet me and some friends for dinner at the Park North Lion & Rose on Blanco Road. She called crying in frustration at not being able to find her way from one side of the development to the other. We had to send out a search party to retrieve her.
At the back of the Park North complex behind a large parking lot is a new 125,000 sq ft Target store. I shop at Target and was happy to see a Target going up there. However, my enthusiasm for the Target corporation was dampened when I noticed that they closed a nearby store on the Hwy 281 access road when they opened the Park North store. This leaves yet another vacant “big box” retail space in the area.
An unexpected addition to the complex is the modern Aloft Hotel facing Blanco Road in the middle of the Park North restaurant ring. The hotel has a self-described loft-inspired design. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool and a lounge. The hotel has gotten good reviews on Trip Advisor from people who have stayed there. This seems like a strange location for a tourist hotel. However, guests seem to appreciate its proximity to both the airport and downtown.