Drive-in theater along Trinity gets go-ahead

FORT WORTH -- By Memorial Day weekend, just as movie theaters nationwide are starting the summer blockbuster season, Coyote Theaters hopes that area film fans will be pulling into its three-screen urban drive-in at Trinity Uptown.

The Tarrant Regional Water District agreed Tuesday to move forward with leasing 20 to 25 acres it owns just south of LaGrave Field to Coyote Theaters, a Dallas-based startup. The land, east of North Main Street, is mostly parking lots and largely vacant.

The water district wants to put the property to use not only to generate revenue, but also to build some branding for Trinity Uptown.

The lease would be for 10 years, about how long it will take the water district to begin permanent development in the $909 million Trinity River Vision flood-control and economic development project.

"It's a great idea. Let's get it open," said board member Jim Lane, who added after the meeting that he already has plans to borrow a neighbor's 1957 Chevy for a date night with his wife to the drive-in.

Brady Wood, who is spearheading the theater company, told board members that Trinity Uptown will be Coyote's first of several planned locations. He said the site along the Trinity River is ideal because there's little ambient light or sound to disturb the drive-in experience.

"We love the idea of bringing back the drive-in. We are stepping out together on this," Wood told the board.

One investor in Coyote Theaters is Glenn Solomon, president of the Gulf States chain of movie theaters.

The theater expects to show first-run movies in digital format. Moviegoers will be able to watch from their cars, rent cabanas or set up chairs in a designated seating area under pavilions. The movie soundtrack will play through car radios, Wood said.

Each screen will have room for 250 to 500 cars, and admission will be about $6 to $8 a person, he said. One screen will face north, meaning patrons will watch the movie with the Fort Worth skyline in the background, Wood said.

The water district would realize $1.7 million in rent over the lease. The theater anticipates 300,000 visitors annually.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST