A conceptual rendering of concert venue Evo Live to be built in Schertz.
A conceptual rendering of concert venue EVOLive to be built in Schertz. Credit: Courtesy / EVO Entertainment Group

EVO Entertainment has announced plans to build an amphitheater northeast of San Antonio, the first of its new EVOLive concept that the company says will host big-name concerts and community events.

The news comes just two months after the San Marcos-based EVO announced it would soon begin construction on a 73,000-square-foot EVO Entertainment Center in Schertz at The Ranch at Old Wiederstein Shopping Center on Interstate 35. Last week, the company also unveiled plans to add a 150,000-square-foot amphitheater on 27 acres directly behind the complex.

EVOLive is being billed as a state-of-the-art outdoor music and entertainment venue with tiered and lawn seating for nearly 15,000 people, and parking for 2,000 cars. The EVO Entertainment Center is expected to open in January 2019, but no firm date has been set for completion of the amphitheater.

“This will be a landmark project not only for our company, but for the city of Schertz and the surrounding communities as well,” stated Mitch Roberts, EVO Entertainment Group CEO.

News of EVO’s plans for an amphitheater in the booming northeast corridor might bring a new level of competition to the fun and games category in San Antonio in the coming year.

Nearby, Santikos Entertainment plans to open a new 87,000-square-foot family entertainment center next spring in the Cibolo Crossing Shopping Center. Construction has already begun at that location, which sits directly across from the new EVO site, but within the Cibolo city limits.

Santikos Entertainment, a social enterprise gifted in 2015 to the San Antonio Area Foundation after founder John Santikos’ death, has been renovating its San Antonio theaters and building new ones with additional attractions. The Casa Blanca, located on Alamo Ranch Parkway, features movie theaters, bowling alleys, a gaming arcade, restaurants, and in-theater dining.

Over on the far West Side, Flix Entertainment Group has reportedly purchased vacant land at 1604 and Potranco Road for its signature microbrewery and movie theater concept. Based in Round Rock, Flix operates 10 first-run movie houses across the country and the company website shows plans for more.

EVO Entertainment operates several movie theater and entertainment complexes throughout the state, including Creekside Theaters in New Braunfels and Starplex in San Marcos. Its cinema-entertainment center in Kyle, between San Marcos and Austin, features a restaurant, movie theater, bowling alley, and arcades.

Although the City of Schertz did not offer development incentives to EVO Entertainment Group, the Schertz Economic Development Corporation gave an incentive to Weiderstein Ranch developer WR1 LLC for water and wastewater improvements.

“The investment by EVO Entertainment Group is huge for the City of Schertz,” Kyle Kinateder, executive director of the Schertz Economic Development Corporation, stated in an email. “It has the ability to not only positively impact our city but the entire region. EVO’s investment, along with others, is helping to create an entertainment district.”

Traffic in the area is already heavy, and the EVO projects are expected to draw 2 million more visitors to the area. Anyone who has driven the 100-mile stretch between San Antonio and Austin isn’t surprised that Texas Department of Transportation maps show traffic volumes per day in the 150,000 to 175,000 range. But not all those motorists are passing through.

Comal and Hays, counties between the two metropolitan areas, are among the fastest growing, by population, in the country. Major employers include Amazon and global food distributor SyscoForbes magazine contributor and urban studies professor Joel Kotkin called the span between San Antonio and Austin “America’s next great metropolis.”

“The Interstate 35 Corridor is in expansion mode,” Kinateder stated. “Both residential and commercial growth is red hot. Since 2010, the corridor has experienced 40 percent residential growth. During this same time, Schertz has added almost 5 million square feet of new commercial space.”

But back in 2009, the curtain came down on the kind of live outdoor entertainment possible in an amphitheater when the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater closed. That facility sits in Selma just over five miles south of where the new EVO amphitheater will be built.

For eight years starting in 2001, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, a 20,000-capacity venue built by Clear Channel Entertainment, drew concert-goers to the area. Stream Realty of Dallas purchased the property from Live Nation in 2009 with plans to redevelop it.

The River City Community Church holds a special sermon on Easter Sunday at the former Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. Credit: Courtesy / River City Community Church

The River City Community Church purchased the property in 2011 and continues to operate there, using the amphitheater for special events.

Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.