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Hard Rock / Freestyle Music Park Discussion Thread


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The park wasn't really all that bad. It's a lot worse than most make it out to be, it just wasn't handled by the right people. I think if executed properly it would be a success...

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http://www.carolinalive.com/news/story.aspx?id=606121

 

It began with such promise, but Hard Rock Park, which opened for business in Myrtle Beach three years ago on April 15th, 2008, quickly went downhill. The park never attracted the crowds predicted by its developers and less than six months after opening, the park's owners filed for bankruptcy.

 

The amusement park went on the auction block early in 2009, with the new owners, FPI MB Entertainment, purchasing it for $25 million, a fraction of its $400 million construction cost.

 

The new owners promised lower ticket prices and big changes and for awhile the newly renamed Freestyle Music Park seemed poised for success. But the sluggish economy took its toll and lawsuits from unpaid creditors soon began to pile up. The park closed at the end of the 2009 season and never reopened.

 

Today, three years after the park's original opening, Freestyle's future remains uncertain. A Facebook page created by former park employees buzzes with speculation about a new owner for the park, but so far, none of the rumors have been confirmed.

 

Theme park consultant John Bergen of Leisure Business Advisors of Richmond, VA, says the park could still be a viable business, but the state of the economy is holding it back.

 

"We understand that a number of operators have considered the site, but none have actually acted upon it at this point," Bergen said.

 

He says the ideal situation would be for an established park operator, like Herschend Family Entertainment, which runs Dollywood Park in Pidgeon Forge, TN and other locations, to take over Freestyle and reestablish it as a workable attraction.

 

"If you brought in a name, established, respected company that's been involved with similar projects elsewhere then I think that would be a positive sign to the market that this is a different situation than what's occurred."

 

But Bergen says it would have to happen soon. The deteriorating condition of the rides is a concern, he says, but an even bigger worry is that the longer the park remains closed, the harder it will be to reestablish in the market.

 

The owner of a frame shop next door to the park remains hopeful. Jeff Rodier, who runs Art and Frame Outlet just across George Bishop Parkway from Freestyle, says his business hasn't suffered because of the park's inactivity, but he and his wife GeAnn got married at the park two years ago and he has fond memories of those exciting times.

 

"We miss seeing the crowds. We miss hearing, we could hear the roller coaster and the screams and everything. And it was always pretty festive while it was going on, we certainly miss that," Rodier said.

 

Rodier has a good friend who's a roller coaster enthusiast and has told him the park's signature coaster, the Time Machine, risks serious deterioration, the longer that it's not in operation.

 

"So at this point, if something doesn't happen soon, going through another year or two of sitting, the coaster could become scrap metal."

 

Rodier hopes if the park does reopen, it would be geared more toward a local audience than tourists.

 

What would you like to see in that location? The park reopen? A different attraction? Leave your thoughts below.

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At this point just move the damn B&M and raze the land. I've come a long way on this place and no longer do I have any optimism of it ever working out. The only thing I could ever see working is making it a huge water park with a couple of other rides.

 

The one thing I do wonder, though, is how quickly do rides deteriorate? For example, would Time Machine actually be in bad shape after this period of inactivity?

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^Screw the B&M, save the weird Premier ride!

 

Now that you mention it, I think I enjoyed the Premier ride more than Time Machine...

 

Save teh estranged Premier ferris wheel hybrid!

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^That ride is a lot of fun and pretty zippy for lack of a better term. No one is going to want that ferris wheel lift though, no matter how cool. Wasn't Premier one of the main ones not to get paid?

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Oh boy oh boy oh boy, here we go again with the waiting game.

 

In my travels to many amusment parks, there are a total of six parks that I've visited in the past that are closed. And while a few of those will never open again, there are three that holds a bit of promise that "this one dead park will rise from the ashes like a Phoenix and run once more" (And those three parks are the ones formerly known as Six Flags New Orleans, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, and Hard Rock Music Park). As for Hard Rock Music Park, this park has become the third park in Myrtle Beach History to close down (does anyone remember another park called "The Pavillian"? Or how about a little park called "Magic Harbor"?).

 

But should Hard Rock reopens (hopefully with a better name), then it'll become the second park to have been open, closed down, and reopened oncemore (and what was the first park to do that? It's the park now known as Family Kingdom - the home of the legendary Swamp Fox!).

 

As for me, I hope this park reopens - with tons of new improvements.

 

"And if they don't, then you could always lay your head on me and dream about it!"

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In my travels to many amusment parks, there are a total of six parks that I've visited in the past that are closed. And while a few of those will never open again, there are three that holds a bit of promise that "this one dead park will rise from the ashes like a Phoenix and run once more" (And those three parks are the ones formerly known as Six Flags New Orleans, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, and Hard Rock Music Park).

 

I think Kentucky Kingdom holds the most if any promise.

 

As for Hard Rock Music Park, this park has become the third park in Myrtle Beach History to close down (does anyone remember another park called "The Pavillian"? Or how about a little park called "Magic Harbor"?).

 

But should Hard Rock reopens (hopefully with a better name), then it'll become the second park to have been open, closed down, and reopened oncemore (and what was the first park to do that? It's the park now known as Family Kingdom - the home of the legendary Swamp Fox!).

 

It did reopen as Freestyle and failed again. That makes four failures in Myrtle Beach area. How many does it take before they figure out it isn't a good idea?

 

As for me, I hope this park reopens - with tons of new improvements.

 

Spend even more money? It didn't work for $400 million the first time, it didn't work the second time around for $25 million. What makes you think that throwing more money at the park will work? If this park had any potential then one of the major park operators would have stepped in by now and got this park for next to nothing. Heck, it should tell you something that one of the chains hasn't stepped into to buy the park so they could move the rides to other parks.

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Last summer I went to Mrytle Beach,and we passed HardRock Theme Park and I found it sad to see an park that wasn't open that long closed. Although I got my credit on Swamp Fox,and really the coaster was actually good.

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Screamscape sources have leaked us some interesting updates about Freestyle Music Park. According to our source, those mystery guests seen touring the park a few days ago were seen touring the park for three days straight. The group of 6-7 people was described as being “well dressed” and were spotted leaving the park in a van the other day. Our source actually decided to tail them for a bit as the van drove away from the park and dropped them off at the nearby Country Inn & Suites. One member of the group then entered what seemed to be their own personal car (with Florida plates) and departed. It kind of makes you wonder if the rumors about PARC being involved here is true, as both PARC and the acquired Baker Leisure Group company are both based in Florida.

Either way… a three day tour of the property does quite intense… as if they are possibly very close to announcing a deal I hope. Stay tuned!

 

http://www.screamscape.com/html/freestyle_music_park.htm

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From Screamscape:

 

Park News - (6/1/11) According to the latest news over at Discover Myrtle Beach, those Mystery Guests who were seen touring Freestyle Music Park about a month ago apparently made an offer to buy some of the park’s rides. However, they also believe that the Russian owners declined the offer. In fact, there is also a possibility that the owners may have paid off their debts in order to bring in a higher price for the park, rather than have it liquidated to the highest bidder.
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^ The park didn't really make any money while operating so unless the new owners can completely turn the place around, it's just gonna sit there collecting dust.

 

The people visiting the park seem to be more interested in the rides than anything else.

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http://www.thesunnews.com/2011/08/03/2314039/freestyle-music-park-bought-out.html

 

The theme park formerly known as Freestyle Music Park might be back in business in time for summer 2012. FPI US LLC, the mortgage holder of the former park that has been closed for two years, bought the property out of foreclosure this week with a goal of reopening the theme park in Fantasy Harbour in time for next summer, its attorneys said Wednesday. “There’s a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel,” said David Slough, an attorney for FPI US.

 

Elected leaders and business owners near the park heralded the news Wednesday, saying it could help rejuvenate an area that desperately needs it. “Any time you can take something that is dead and you can bring some life to it, it is good,” said Horry County Councilman Gary Loftus, whose district includes the theme park area.

 

FPI US is looking for either a partner to manage and operate the park or a buyer who can purchase the park and reopen it, Slough said.

 

Talks are in the early stages, so it’s not clear exactly when the park would open, whether it would still be called Freestyle or whether it would create a new theme. “They hope it reopens and it’s a big success,” said Franklin Daniels, an attorney for FPI US. “They don’t want to see it be a vacant theme park. They are not willing to just let it go.”

 

FPI US LLC, which had foreclosed on former park operators FPI MB Entertainment LLC a year ago, bought the property at the Horry County foreclosure auction Monday through a “credit bid” of $7 million. That means FPI US gets the property but doesn’t pay that amount because it’s already owed more than that by the former park operators. The total debt was $34 million, according to court records. Other businesses that were still owed money by Freestyle are out of luck.

 

FPI US won the auction over one other bidder, Alton Swann, a real estate professional in Myrtle Beach who said during a brief telephone conversation Wednesday that he had been working on a plan to bring somebody in to take over the park. “I’d just like to see something happen to it,” he said. “It’s a shame to see it go to waste.”

 

The 50-acre theme park has sat idle for about two years, a far cry from the hoopla that marked its first and second openings during a two-year period.

 

The theme park, which was built for $400 million, originally was branded as Hard Rock Park and debuted in 2008. It filed for bankruptcy protection after a slow first season.

 

The park’s second run started early the following year when a group of investors bought it out of bankruptcy for $25 million in February 2009 and reopened it as Freestyle Music Park a few months later. It also fell into financial troubles after just one summer - a season where tourism statewide took a hit because of the lagging economy that kept many people from traveling or prompted them to cut back on their spending if they did go on vacation.

 

The park has been closed since, riding a wave of cases in court. With the litigation behind it, the park can move forward, Daniels said. FPI plans to look at what went wrong the first two times the park operated, identify what needs to happen to make the park a success and find a buyer or good partner to manage the park, Daniels said. That means the theme, marketing and ticket prices – which some critics said were too high, especially during the tough economy – all will be reviewed, he said. Tickets for admission to Freestyle started at about $40 for adults and about $30 for children, though the park dropped them later in the summer 2009 to less than $20 for special promotions. “Many things in the past have to be done differently,” Daniels said. “They’ve learned a lot of hard lessons, lost a lot of money. But they are committed to it.”

 

Some business owners in the Fantasy Harbour area, off U.S. 501 at the Intracoastal Waterway, said a revived theme park could be the first step in getting the area back to where it should be. A re-opened theme park could bring more people to the area and make it look better, said Robbie Love, owner of The X Sports Center off George Bishop Parkway near the park. “Definitely, that’s a boost,” he said. “That should be a good shot in the arm for the area.”

 

Having the park reopen might not translate into more business at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center on Fantasy Harbour Boulevard, but it would help the look of the area, said Lori Posma, the hotel’s sales director. “That would be great,” she said. “Just the perception of the area - everybody says it looks so decrepit over here...Any action over here would be fabulous.”

 

During the past two years, theme park operators and others have stopped by the park interested in buying some of the rides, but the investors didn’t want to sell off the park piece by piece, still optimistic that the theme park could eventually work in Myrtle Beach, Daniels said. A small crew has continued to work at the park, including an engineer who regularly runs the rides to keep them in shape, Daniels said. “You start selling off the rides, you destroy the value of the theme park,” he said. “They truly are committed. They want to see it reopen. They want to see it work.” But they’ve learned lessons from the park’s back-to-back failures, Daniels said.

 

Loftus said a theme park can work in the Myrtle Beach area if it’s done right. “There were many issues that kind of led to the demise of the first two. Obviously, there were a heckuva lot more that went wrong than right,” Loftus said. “Done correctly, and with the right marketing, it should have a chance.”

 

One culprit that hampered the park’s second run was the Great Recession, which led to an 8 percent drop in tourism in South Carolina in 2009, according to figures released this week by the S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism department. Tourism throughout the state generated $14 billion in 2009, down about $1 billion from the previous year. Tourism officials have said the industry has picked up since then.

 

FPI’s talks with potential managers or buyers are in the early stages, and it’s unclear when FPI would announce details of a reopening. It probably would take between six and nine months to adequately prepare the park and promote it, though Freestyle owners did it in three months after they bought the park out of bankruptcy.

 

“There’s no timeframe,” Daniels said. “They are working hard.”

 

Posma of the Clarion hotel, like Loftus, said a theme park could be successful here. “If they take input they have learned and apply it, commit to it, I think they can make it work,” she said. “I’m hoping for the best.”

 

On a side note, I took at look at the website for HRP Creative Services, the company that holds all of the rights to the former Hard Rock Park concepts/namesakes... The website is still online, but has been tweaked to reference an "award winning Rock n' Roll Theme Park®"

 

http://www.hrpusa.com/index.php

 

HRP Creative Services owns the creative content forthe award winning Rock n' Roll Theme Park® in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; the Park formerly known as Hard Rock Park*.
Edited by ernierocker
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Hmmm....I give this about a 10% chance of re-opening. Especially since it has sat idle for 2 years. Just getting the rides up to state inspection again will take some serious cash.

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^ Well, if the article is correct, it possibly wouldn't take that much money at all. It says that there is still staff that works at the park, maintaining the rides and running them occasionally to make sure they stay in good condition. I for one would welcome seeing the park come back. Granted, I never made it during the Freestyle Music Park days, I did visit the park when it was still Hard Rock Park. It really does have a lot of potential, if it had only lasted long enough to work through its growing pains. What it really lacked in my opinion is a stand out theme to attract a more diverse crowd. While Led Zeppelin/The Time Machine was a fun coaster, there was little else in terms of thrill rides to attract hard core thrill seekers. On the flip side, themeing the park as Hard Rock Park was probably a bit of a deterrent for family's. Hard Rock Cafe isn't overly know as being the go to place for family time. I think if they can bring in one or two more big attractions, and do some overhaul in terms of themeing on certain areas of the park, it could become a hit.

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