SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Twelve acres of land in San Marcos is transforming from a movie theater to a multi-family apartment complex. Some are disappointed by the change, but the developer said it’s needed.

The former Starplex movie theater is now large piles of rubble and dirt.

photo of part of the Starplex Movie Theater in San Marcos demolished
Starplex shut down in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a place where memories were made for movie-goers like Anthony Castillo, who works at the Dominos near the former theater.

“The atmosphere was amazing. I just always truly loved it when we came to the movie theater,” Castillo said.

The last movie he watched there was Star Wars back in 2019.

“To see the conclusion of this trilogy was amazing. I’m glad I was able to see it at the Starplex. I’m glad I was able to experience it there with my family and have a great time,” Castillo said.

The theater closed in 2020 during the pandemic. But coming soon, the deserted lot will become a multi-family apartment complex.

The apartments won't be student housing but instead geared toward middle-aged adults.
The apartments won’t be student housing but instead geared toward middle-aged adults.

Daniel Campbell is managing director with Long View Equity, the group developing the site.

“It’ll have a club space, a library space, a gym, outdoor patios,” Campbell said.

He said demolition started about a month ago. Contractors are taking out seats and popcorn machines to resell and recycle the material.

Campbell said he understands the nostalgia that comes with this space but believes with how fast the area is growing more housing is needed.

“What this does is helps, I think, San Marcos to meet its goal of continuing to grow smartly. And, you know, taking sites like this, that had existing developments on it and repurposing them for something that better serves the community is we hope a win-win for everybody,” Campbell said.

While there are other theaters nearby, Castillo said he’s going to miss what made this one so special.

“Just gave it that really oldie-fashioned retro vibe that I really liked about it,” Castillo said.

Campbell said the project is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2024.

Because of the city’s fast-growing population, officials are trying to address its housing needs.

In 2019, it drafted an action plan. The city’s goal is to have more housing for people across different income and age levels.