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Hard Rock / Freestyle Music Park Discussion Thread


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I still think it hysterical that Hard Rock International claims its' reputation was damaged.

 

I don't know what they have to complain about. They agreed to license their name and were paid for it. They could have, you know, looked at the business plan, hired industry experts to evaluate the project, etc.

 

Maybe they're mad because they're among the $300 million worth of unpaid bills.

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Most just say the church is across from Medieval Times. "I don't know if you were to ask the congregation what that four-lane road out there was, if they'd be able to tell you."

 

Again, had this park maybe offered a discount to locals, or a night pass or something maybe the church goers (and it was a pretty big church) across the street would have noticed or cared about the place!

 

I thought that it was hilarious that the church was essentially right next door, as if you could go to HRP for sin, then go to the church for redemption after your visit.

 

-Gary T.

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from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123128760224559189.html

 

Hard Rock Park, a 140-acre theme park in Myrtle Beach, S.C., opened with great fanfare last April, hoping to lure tourists with a penchant for roller coasters and Led Zeppelin. Now, though, despite four years in development and two years in construction, the attraction is unplugging just nine months after opening.

 

 

Yesterday, a Delaware bankruptcy judge approved the company's request to begin liquidating what was billed as the world's first rock 'n' roll theme park and the single-largest tourism investment in South Carolina history.

 

Hard Rock Park's hard-knock life serves as one of the most colorful examples of lax corporate lending standards during the decade's lending boom. In the case of Hard Rock Park, private-equity investors put up about $75 million and raised another roughly $320 million in debt to fund their vision.

 

Despite excellent park reviews, customers didn't show. The park closed in September. Above, the entrance to the Nights in White Satin The Trip.

 

"Only in 2005 or 2006 could you raise this type of financing without some reasonable assurance that the business plan could work," said William Welnhofer, managing director and head of corporate restructuring at Robert W. Baird & Co., which wasn't involved in the park.

 

The park's marquee attraction was Led Zeppelin The Ride, a state-of-the-art corkscrew roller coaster developed in conjuction with members of the legendary foursome. Those preferring traditional wooden roller coasters could ride Eagles -- Life in the Fast Lane, inspired by the mellow rockers.

 

If parkgoers still had an appetite, they could sit down for a meal at Alice's Restaurant, a reference to the eatery in Arlo Guthrie's folk song where "you can get anything you want."

 

Despite excellent park reviews, customers didn't show. Since its opening in April 2008, the park has generated only $20 million in ticket sales, hardly enough to meet its roughly $24 million in annual interest payments, much less other operating expenses. The park closed in September.

 

"Overall attendance at the park was lower than expected," said the company in its original September bankruptcy filing, "primarily as a result of the macroeconomic conditions that significantly depressed overall demand in the travel and leisure industry." It employed 2,000 full-time and part-time employees.

 

Hard Rock Park was the creation of three Florida-based entertainment executives. Steven Goodwin, the CEO, helped develop the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios Orlando; Felix Mussenden headed Universal Studios Orlando; and Jon Binkowski is a former executive at Sea World. A company lawyer said Mr. Goodwin wasn't available for comment.

 

The trio's plans coalesced around 2006, just as credit markets were reaching their peak. Having already spent four years planning the park, they were finally able to raise about $400 million in financing. That consisted of some $320 million in debt -- including about $100 million in junk bonds paying 12.5% -- as well as about $75 million in equity from investors, including New York's Safe Harbor Holding LLC.

 

Two bondholders who asked to remain nameless said they reasoned the park could piggyback off Myrtle Beach's popularity and good climate. Per-person spending was about $65, comparable to other theme parks, but it drew far fewer than the projected 30,000 people a day.

 

Hard Rock Park was built around a lake with a 70-foot replica of a Les Paul guitar,] Associated Press

 

 

One key to Hard Rock Park was its licensing agreement with Hard Rock International, the restaurant and casino chain, that authorized the use of its name for $1.5 million up front and at least $2.5 million annually.

 

In court filings, Hard Rock International said that the park has damaged its reputation and that its owners have failed to live up to their agreement. It has asked the bankruptcy judge to scuttle the licensing pact and to order the return of such memorabilia as a Madonna rhinestone suit valued at $15,884 and a Garth Brooks cowboy hat valued at $746.

 

Hard Rock Park said in its filings that frozen credit markets limited its ability to finance marketing campaigns. In September, after a disappointing summer season, the company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It sought to restructure its strained balance sheet in time to reopen this spring, but it couldn't find new financing or a buyer. It is now liquidating

 

The liquidiation means an abrupt end to the park's unique rituals. At the end of every evening, Hard Rock Park closed down with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" blaring over the speakers, accompanied by a laser and fireworks display.

 

"It's a real heartache," said Liz Gilland, the chairman of the local governing council where Hard Rock Park is located. "It wasn't one of those things that if you build it, they will come. They couldn't have opened at a worse time."

 

—Peg Brickley contributed to this article.

 

Write to Peter Lattman at peter.lattman@wsj.com and Jeffrey McCracken at jeff.mccracken@wsj.com

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The park didn't fail, management did. This EPIC FAIL trickled down from the top.

 

Remember, DLR and WDW didn't evolve from orange groves and swamps, respectively, based solely on a hunch. Extensive surveys were done in order to predict the future of each of those sites based on the established name of the future tenant (Disney), and how the local areas might eventually adjust to them over time (i.e highway access, lodging, etc. etc.).

 

In other words, HRP management didn't do their homework, or apparently didn't hire a respectable source to do so either. It seems that management felt just by moving in, the area would cater to them. Just looking at a city's tourism figures is not enough to guarantee the success of ANY venture....and especially one where you're out of your element from the very beginning.

 

All the economy/high gas prices did was take away that last 1% chance of success they had.

Exactly.

 

Another example of this: Race World in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

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I still think it hysterical that Hard Rock International claims its' reputation was damaged.

 

I don't know what they have to complain about. They agreed to license their name and were paid for it. They could have, you know, looked at the business plan, hired industry experts to evaluate the project, etc.

 

Maybe they're mad because they're among the $300 million worth of unpaid bills.

 

Hell, I've always thought that chain was mediocre, at best (but still better than Planet Hollywood). I think the best of the "show-biz" gimmick restaurant chains is House of Blues.

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Hell, I've always thought that chain was mediocre, at best (but still better than Planet Hollywood). I think the best of the "show-biz" gimmick restaurant chains is House of Blues.

 

Never actually been to one. They used to do a booming business in t-shirts back when I was in like grade school. Kind of funny that so many of my classmates went to exotic locales like London only to come back with t-shirts advertising a cheesy chain restaurant.

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"It's a real heartache," said Liz Gilland, the chairman of the local governing council where Hard Rock Park is located. "It wasn't one of those things that if you build it, they will come. They couldn't have opened at a worse time."

 

Still blaming the economy.

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Did they really think that they could get 30,000 a day? That's above Knotts, Magic Mountian, IOA, Cedar Point...how did they get the money?

 

I think this place died because it was failure on planing. They didn't plan that they might not have guest counts in the 20-30k after being open for one week. I guess I thought they would make it 2-3 seasons before "calling it quits"...

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We would like to thank the hundreds of thousands of guests from across the country that came to experience Hard Rock Park during our inaugural season and for rating their experience at Hard Rock Park as comparable to the best that major theme parks have to offer. We would also like to thank the local community in Myrtle Beach for their ongoing support and loyalty.

 

Regretfully, Hard Rock Park has closed for the remainder of the 2008 season to allow management to focus on restructuring efforts. Following the completion of this restructuring process, Hard Rock Park intends to re-open for the 2009 season, and we invite everyone to come back next year to continue the fun.

 

We are pleased to announce that we have received Bankruptcy Court approval to offer our Annual and Season Pass Holders a six-month extension. In addition, anyone still holding unused tickets to the Park will be able to exchange their unused tickets for a 2009 ticket in the near future. Unfortunately, the approval of refunds is not permitted by the Bankruptcy Court at this time.

 

Hard Rock Park will remain focused on delivering a first class entertainment experience to all future visitors of the Park.

 

What does this mean for Hard Rock Park? Click here for details.

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The park's marquee attraction was Led Zeppelin The Ride, a state-of-the-art corkscrew roller coaster developed in conjuction with members of the legendary foursome. Those preferring traditional wooden roller coasters could ride Eagles -- Life in the Fast Lane, inspired by the mellow rockers.

 

I was reading this same article this morning in the Wall street Journal, and it was the perfect way to start of a day. I started laughing at first when they called LZ "a state of the art corkscrew coaster" but then the part about Eagles being a traditional woodie made me almost die laughing.

 

Wallstreet journal editors have to check every single fact about stocks and economic things, yet they can't even figure out the difference between a mine train and a traditional woodie.

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I think everyone bypassed this park's real reason it failed. You could blame the economy, gas prices, troubled location, cocky management, and you'd still only be skimming the water. Let's get to the real reason this park failed.

 

God hated it.

 

So he smitted the park.

 

I think you may be onto something here. I didn't see this posted before, but apparently one of the investors for Hard Rock Park, Safe Harbor Holding, is now backing the proposed Bible Park in Nashville according to this story. How ironic?

www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=9599823&nav=menu36_2

 

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Investors behind the bankrupt Hard Rock Park appear to have shifted their focus to another state and another type of park.

 

Sources tell WMBF that Safe Harbor Holding, one of the Hard Rock Park investors, is planning at $175 million Bible-themed park in Nashville, TN, called Bible Park USA, expected to look vastly different from Hard Rock Park.

 

According to the park's website, "Bible Park USA is a one-of-a-kind themed story park that brings the Bible to life through well-loved, familiar stories and ancient historical experiences."

 

Developers are trying to raise money from a 5 percent tax on sales within the premise on bonds for construction costs.

 

"How much of a benefit is it to have low-paying jobs that aren't going to last throughout the season," asked Charles Moore, a local businessman who thinks that any such park isn't so good for the local economy. "If taxpayers put their money in that, they're crazy. And I think now, if you look all over the country, all the parks seem to be in financial trouble. Why start a new one?"

 

Wilson County Commissioners in Tennessee will vote in January on the use of the tax money. If the project gets the needed votes, its financing will be in place.

 

There's no word yet on if this project will impact the fate of Hard Rock Park.

 

Reported by Jason Barr

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Lets not forget another park that had a WEAK ride lineup and projected 30,000 guest days and was also an epic failure...MGM Grand Adventures. The only reason it stayed open as long as it did was because it had a major casino backing it.

 

They could afford to float the park until something better came along. They also kept throwing money at the park trying to fix it but it was esentially throwing good money after bad. the park was a bust it was just covered up by a good PR department at the MGM.

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My guesses as to where these coasters are headed:

 

Led Zepelin: Wild Adventures or Magic Springs

Maximum RPM: Indiana Beach, BGA, or Dorney

Eagles: Carowinds or Holiday World

Shake Rattle & Roll: Random small family owned park

Slippery When Wet: SFMM 2010 coaster!

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Lets not forget another park that had a WEAK ride lineup and projected 30,000 guest days and was also an epic failure...MGM Grand Adventures.

Funny that you mention it...When Elissa and I were walking out of the park we said to ourselves "This park reminds me of something..." and we couldn't put our finger on it...

 

Then later that day when we went back it struck me "MGM Grand Adventures!"

 

It was right about that point where we said "Oh, god, we need to buy something because this park won't last!"

 

We bought KidTums a "My First Hard Rock Park T-Shirt" shirt...I guess now we need to sharpee in "And Last?"

 

--Robb

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