Austin’s House of Torment moving to new, bigger haunts

3:52 p.m Tuesday, May 10, 2016 Business

Austin’s House of Torment is relocating to a new site that’s twice as big as its former location.

The haunted house, a Halloween tradition for more than a decade, will set up shop this fall in a 40,000-square-foot building at 2632 Ridgepoint Drive, a warehouse complex near U.S. 183 and U.S. 290 in Northeast Austin, co-founder Jon Love said.

That’s about 2 miles east of House of Torment’s longtime home at the former Highland Mall complex, which is in the process of being redeveloped by Austin Community College and its partners.

“ACC was great to work with. There are no hard feelings,” Love said. “It was a dying mall. Things had been up in the air for a while. We knew at some point the property would be redeveloped and that there were a lot of different directions they could take.”

Love said he and co-founder Dan McCullough looked at a variety of sites throughout Central Texas, including some outside Austin, but decided it was important to stay near their former home.

“We said, ‘This is an event that needs to stay in Austin,’” he said.

Construction on the new site has started, Love said, and should be complete by September. A price tag for the project wasn’t available.

Love said the added space will enable House of Torment to create bigger, more elaborate haunted houses than the three that were housed at the Highland Mall site.

More details on the houses planned for the new site will be available this summer, Love said.

Plans also call for several amenities not previously available, including a gift shop, a standalone box office and a concessions stand, as well as event space and an “escape room” that will be open year-round.

Escape rooms, which have been popping up around Central Texas in recent months, lock groups of people in a room and give them a set amount of time to figure out how to break out.

“This is a much larger footprint than anything we’ve ever done in Austin,” Love said. “Highland is where House of Torment became a big thing, but I’m really excited about what’s next.”

In addition to Austin’s House of Torment, McCullough and Love are involved with eight other haunted houses located in San Antonio, Phoenix and Chicago.

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