Cedar Creek Lake

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Gun Barrel City movie theater to reopen this spring after renovation of building, equipment


David Webb is a veteran journalist who has written for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. He is now a freelancer who lives in the Cedar Creek Lake area.

Hometown Cinemas will reopen the movie theater in Gun Barrel City within 90 days and in time to present the new summer movies to the Cedar Creek Lake area, according to a pending agreement between the entertainment company and the city.

The agreement is scheduled to be finalized during a special City Council meeting Feb. 18. The announcement of the theater's reopening came in a press release Feb. 14.

Hometown Cinemas managing partner Randall L. Hester said the theater will undergo a renovation to include new Sony Digital 4K projection equipment in all eight of the 24,730-square-foot building's theaters. The lobby, box office and snack bar also will be renovated, he said.

Hester promised the "presentation would be tremendous. The closest other theaters using the advanced equipment are in Dallas, Austin and Houston, he said.

Hometown Cinemas now operates theaters in Terrell and in Lockhart near Austin, and the owners plan to continue expansion in other Texas cities, according to the statement.

"We were not the only company interested in this theater, but we're excited with this acquisition because Gun Barrel City is exactly the kind of town we want to be in," Hester said.

Economic Development Corp. President Linda Rankin said Cedar Creek Lake citizens had expressed great enthusiasm for the reopening of the theater that closed last summer when the previous operation failed. Rankin and her team worked with potential buyers for several months to get an agreement in place.

"We are thrilled that Hometown Cinema will be bringing their first rate operation to our community," Rankin said. "This is very good news for the future economic development of this area."

The city will provide financial incentives to the theater company that include $100,000 for renovations costs and sales tax reimbursements to the company for five years if it meets annual sales goals.

Hester said the company would be offering special events, private party space, movie camps and other activities during school breaks in addition to being a general admission theater.

"We have some work to do to get the facility up to a standard that the community deserves," Hester said. "We want everyone to agree when we say, 'There's no place like Hometown," he said.

The theater in Heritage Park originally opened as MovieStar Cinema. The former owners closed in late summer 2013 after announcing they could not invest more money to upgrade the theater's equipment.

The announcement of the closing widely disappointed Cedar Creek Lake residents, but it sparked immediate interest in the property by other companies.


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