Waco: Can Waco sustain new commercial center, theater?

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) The announcement of plans for a new mixed-use commercial center that includes a 14-screen theater reflects the fast pace of Waco’s growth, but a Baylor University business professor says there’s a danger of oversaturation.

"Once someone seizes the moment some people want to belong to a winner. They want to follow a winning sports team and Waco at the time seems to be the winning city," Dr. James Roberts said Wednesday.

Roberts who is an expert on business models say's he hardly recognizes Waco from when he arrived here in 1991.

"We've had an economic run almost unknown in the history so yeah things are going well, but I always counsel both myself and everyone else to be careful because what goes up must come down,” he said.

"We may very well be oversaturated. We may see both apartment buildings hotels and of course movie theaters. We might see them have a real falling out,” he said.

Cinemark announced it will build the new theatre complex at the entrance of the Cottonwood Creek Market between New Road and the Central Texas Marketplace.

Its 14 screens will increase the total number of screens in the city to 56.

The development also includes multi-family residential, office, and retail space.

Kris Collins, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce says the pace of Waco’s growth has increased in recent years.

“We've crossed over a critical population threshold that's made Waco attractive to projects where the city wouldn't have been on the radar previously."

"Texas leads the nation, it doesn't follow the country in economic trends." Colilins said.

"The population growth and tourism has Waco in a place like never before."