Fort Worth Drive-In Screens Going Up

Drive-in expected to open by spring

After months of waiting, a drive-in movie theater is taking shape in Fort Worth.

In their heyday of the late 1950s, more than 5,000 drive-ins were across the country. Today, there are a little more than 500.

A crane and a half dozen workers on Friday installed two of the three screens at a drive-in under construction in the Trinity Uptown development just north of downtown.

Crews sent metallic slats up one by one and affixed them to a steel structure. A special paint will be applied early next week.

Elsewhere around the urban drive-in, much work remains. While a parking lot is nearby, the area is mostly dirt and is undeveloped.

The man building the screens thinks the drive-in will be like none other when it is completed in the spring.

"It's unique in that it's so close to the city, and the skyline at night is beautiful," said Jerry Selby, president of Selby Products. "You'll be able to watch the movies, and you've got some built-in romance. It's really special. I was out here the other night, and it's really something."

The owners of the Coyote Drive-In had hoped to open in May of this year. They said they were a little too optimistic and want to the project to be done right.

"They decided, based on the site, this will be the best drive-in in the entire country," said J.D. Granger, executive director of TRVA, which owns the land where the drive-in is located. "Because of that, they're truly making this their flagship operation."

Granger said the project gets the most calls to his office than anything else each week.

"People have been waiting -- not patiently," he said. "They're ready for it to open."

The drive-in will be a modern version of the '50s-era nostalgia. It will also be a sign of what's to come to the Trinity Uptown area.

TRVA has long wanted to bring projects like his to just north of downtown and south of LaGrave Field. Bridge work for the Trinity Uptown project is set to start in January, but this project is already helping grow the area.

"It has really, really driven up interest in development in this area," Granger said. "It should be a fun year in Uptown."

Selby, who has installed thousands of screens in his life, said Fort Worth won't be disappointed.

"They're going to have everything here -- plus, any of what the best drive-ins in the country have, this will be better," he said.

The drive-in will play first-run movies and could be adaptable to move the screens as the project develops around it.

Crews will put up the third screen over the weekend.

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