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SFNO/Jazzland Discussion Thread

P. 50: New Orleans seeking redevelopment proposals for SFNO site

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Serious question to Danny.....

 

After being down in New Orleans area three times in the past two years I noticed a few things, do you think the area population can support a park (which I believe it can't) and if not, how do you plan on draw people in and support a park that failed once due to financials and once because of natural disasters and from where there doesn't have the need for a theme park already filled. Also, if you do somehow miraculously manage to get it up, how do you plan on protecting the park from future flooding?

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I have a question.

The park has been in the same condition exposed to the elements for almost 5 and a half years now. Some of the rides have been moved out, and things are falling apart. Wouldn't it just be easier and cheaper at this point to just buy a plot of land at a different location start from scratch? Jazzland/ Six Flags New Orleans hasn't had a very long life to make it historic, but don't you think that it's time to just put the park to rest and let it fade into history?

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This is the last time I will go over this with you, I told you I would be willing to answer your questions. I did not say I would put up with abuse. I am open to your ideas and yes some criticism as I know I am not perfect, however I will remind all of you that I am the one doing the work (my company) taking the risks and spending our money to try and save the park. So please again be civil.

 

You know there will always be a lot of he-said she-said when it comes to what happened. I can tell you my version, and the public facts that anybody can look up for themselves, and you can decide for yourselves. When we had the press conference, we had to actually threaten to do it without Nagin before he'd even agree to put us on the IDB agenda, and he publicly said it was a Nickelodeon property. Six Flags still had the lease but was going through bankruptcy. We repeatedly asked for discussions about what our lease terms would be and they kept saying "when we're done with Six Flags, we'll talk to you". We went to the IDB on blind faith that we would get the property, but even the IDB brought up the issue that how could they approve the bonds when we didn't have control yet. The Nickelodeon folks had to stand up and state their case, and even then, 2 IDB members voted no. We had a deadline in our contract with Nickelodeon that said we had to have control of the property by a certain date. The mayor knew this because they insisted on having a copy before they'd okay us for the IDB (apparently Nickelodeon meeting with them and telling them on the phone wasn't good enough). I know we're ashamed at how the city and state treated them, it was embarrassing. They are good people and a great company, and the city and state should have been bending over backwards the way they did for the steel mill, chicken or sweet potato plant instead of insulting them. Even the department of economic development at the state level said that since they weren't competing with another state to get them, there wasn't anything they could do to help.

 

When it came time for the state bond meeting, we were all there in the basement of the state capital, right outside the meeting room. The mayor had yet to put anything in writing that we'd ever get the property, Six Flags still had control, and we were past the deadline in the contract. We were told that someone from the mayor's office would be there to voice their support of the project, but they didn't show. Everybody was in agreement, but I made the call to pull our name from the agenda. I was going to wait until the November meeting. As everybody here knows, the PR folks were in charge of everything that was said, and I wasn't posting anything, so we had to live with all the things that were being said without being able to tell our side of things. Anybody that knows me knows how hard that was for me. A week later, we got a letter from the mayor's office that said they were pulling their support of the project because we didn't go to the state meeting the week before. Nickelodeon was copied on the letter. The next day the contract was terminated because we didn't have control of the property. I tried to fight it because I knew what it would mean for the city and I hated seeing such a great opportunity wasted. A month or so later, in December 2009, the city finally got control of the property. It has been sitting without any security whatsoever ever since. You can say "well court things just take time", and yes, you'd be right. But you can also look up all the court records and see that the city never filed anything in the bankruptcy case. Six Flags did all the filings. The city didn't even make any claims that creditors can make about monies owed. Even then, there was no valid reason not to discuss terms with us or put something in writing guaranteeing us the lease. I'll leave it up to you as to why it all ended up the way it did.

 

Thanks

Danny

SSAI

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Serious question to Danny.....

 

After being down in New Orleans area three times in the past two years I noticed a few things, do you think the area population can support a park (which I believe it can't) and if not, how do you plan on draw people in and support a park that failed once due to financials and once because of natural disasters and from where there doesn't have the need for a theme park already filled. Also, if you do somehow miraculously manage to get it up, how do you plan on protecting the park from future flooding?

 

A few facts may help answer your question. The park that was in Houston Texas (Six Flags) is now gone opening a wider area to draw from. Next while the population of New Orleans its self is not all the way back there are now more people living in our target market then ever before and the areas are growing fast! As far as drawing in folks come on man its NEW ORLEANS site of the Super Bowl in 2013. LOL You ask a good question and I could go over tons of reports with you showing it will work, by experts that are paid to know.

 

As to flooding the area has new flood walls being put in place that should protect it and we are (or will) take other actions to protect the park while rebuilding. There is no way to ever fully protect it as it stands true for almost all of New Orleans.

 

Adding more rides,shows as well as a Water Park will also push the numbers up. I hope that this in some small way answers your question.

 

Thanks

Danny

SSAI

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I have a question.

The park has been in the same condition exposed to the elements for almost 5 and a half years now. Some of the rides have been moved out, and things are falling apart. Wouldn't it just be easier and cheaper at this point to just buy a plot of land at a different location start from scratch? Jazzland/ Six Flags New Orleans hasn't had a very long life to make it historic, but don't you think that it's time to just put the park to rest and let it fade into history?

 

Well when I first went to the park it was for some one else who was thinking about making offers to buy the equipment that was usable after the storm, Mega Zeph, the steel coasters and a few other items of interest. You see I had never seen the park in operation and had no interest in it at all other then the equipment. The problem was and still is that the place grows on you even after being flooded the park was in remarkably good condition (Back then) and if Six Flags would have put the work back into it there was no reason it would not open again. We all know now why Six Flags pulled out, the park was a good park but Six Flags was in debt so deep it was not able to recover the park. Simply put Six Flags did not have the money at the time.

 

As to building a new park in today's economy building would cost no less then about 500 million to do a good job and take up to 3 years to get open if all went well. This park even as bad as it looks to the untrained eye is in far better shape then you would ever expect and can be rebuilt for far less taking only a fraction of the time to get reopened. I feel that by using the very best management we can find and taking our time to add on what the public wants this park can indeed be recovered and add to the fun that is New Orleans.

 

Thanks

Danny

SSAI

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I can follow your argument for building on the same plot of land from a timing perspective. Land is still zoned for amusement and certain back-end amenities may already be in place.

 

But is this location an appropriate place for an amusement park to thrive? You mention the Super Bowl returning to New Orleans. New Orleans has always been a huge tourist destination, but Jazzland/SFNO was not successful in drawing those tourists to the park. Why do you think your vision for the amusement park will be more successful?

Edited by larrygator
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I can follow your argument for building on the same plot of land from a timing perspective. Land is still zoned for amusement and certain back-end amenities may already be in place.

 

But is this location an appropriate place for an amusement park to thrive? You mention the Super Bowl returning to New Orleans. New Orleans has always been a huge tourist destination, but Jazzland/SFNO was not successful in drawing those tourists to the park. Why do you think your vision for the amusement park will be more successful?

 

My reasons to think that the park would do well is based on what the park did in the past (in part) I have seen the records and it was doing well, so well in fact that Six Flags was going to spend 20 million plus on a Water Park. Now we have had studies done that tell us the park will make money, but to be fair it must be something new as well and without giving away to much by adding a few new thrills all new never seen in the industry before. I will let you ponder on that. LOL The amount of work done in pure research is overwhelming and some of the best minds in the industry have been asked to come up with the answer you are seeking as well. For now I and my team are convinced that this is the right park at the right time and in the right place. Time will tell if we where right. The need to add a flag like Nickelodeon is still under discussion (not saying we would or would not use them, its to early to make that call and it is indeed a major cost) The answers are not simple but we feel that after all we have learned our plan will indeed work.

I hope this answers your question.

Thanks

Danny

SSAI

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Serious Question to Danny -

 

Taking away the time it took for the city to regain control of the park, it has still been a good bit of time since they've regained control of the park. Given that, what level of confidence do you have that city government still wants an amusement park? We've all seen various reports and ideas for things other than an amusement park for that parcel float to the surface and then drown, yet, they haven't moved forward with giving you control.

 

Secondly, what would you use to be a draw to get the tourists out of the bars and down to the parks' location? An entertainment complex similar to what Univeral or Disney has for after hours perhaps? Or a resort complex to keep them there?

 

Thanks.

Edited by chadster
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^Hard Rock/Freestyle Music Park wasn't that far from the beach either.

 

This is the last time I will go over this with you, I told you I would be willing to answer your questions. I did not say I would put up with abuse. I am open to your ideas and yes some criticism as I know I am not perfect, however I will remind all of you that I am the one doing the work (my company) taking the risks and spending our money to try and save the park. So please again be civil.

 

There is no intention for this thread to be "abusive." I have serious doubts about your "work", so I am merely trying to fill in the gaps. One thing that still baffles me is how your "investor" was afraid to put up the $500,000 refundable deposit (held in escrow) at that October meeting, and then somehow the very next month (exactly one day before the next board meeting in which you could have gone for final approval of the bond) you are claiming to have $12.5 million to buy the property outright? With $12.5 million available to you, it seems to me like the logical thing to do would have been to put down the money to get the bond so your efforts could really take off?

 

I would also like to know who the "best minds in the industry" working for you are what experience you and your team have in the industry.

 

Lastly, you should be ashamed of yourself for dodging Robb's question!

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Having lived here for pretty much my entire life, I can tell you that a them park will not work in this area. No tourist comes to New Orleans thinking amusement parks, so it would have to rely on the local population, and I just don't think the locals here have the theme park appetite to support it.

 

Now if it were just a waterpark? That could work, but it just doesn't seem like any investment in the property will be worth the money.

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Having lived here for pretty much my entire life, I can tell you that a them park will not work in this area. No tourist comes to New Orleans thinking amusement parks, so it would have to rely on the local population, and I just don't think the locals here have the theme park appetite to support it.

 

Now if it were just a water park? That could work, but it just doesn't seem like any investment in the property will be worth the money.

 

I understand what you are saying but my question to you is if a water park was in place would you go? The park as it was did fine under Six Flags and I feel that I am right, but I respect your feelings on the subject as well. Just for the fun of it, tell me what in your mind would draw people to the park? If you were the one who could name the rides and shows what would you do? What would draw you to the park and keep you coming back?

 

Thanks

Danny

SSAI

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Can't wait for Freestyle Music Park New Orleans, Danny

 

Ive been to Freestyle and spent 3 months looking that park over, and you know what I think it could be saved but then again I am always the optimist! As to New Orleans I wish I had Freestyle in the place of whats there now, it would be a much easier fix

 

Oh well time will tell for both parks but dont be supprised to see Freestyle come back to life and make it this time!

Thanks

Danny

SSAI

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Serious question to Danny.....

 

Who invented liquid soap? and WHY?!?!?

Hendrik Willem Brouwer working for Lever Brothers received patent number US4065398: Liguid Soap

reason was looking for a soap that could be dispenced in public places, look it up for more details if you wish.

Thanks

Danny

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I've been reading your posts on the other site since you first introduced yourself a while ago, and have seen your testimony before, but the biggest question I've had since the start was why invest in a place that really doesn't seem to want a theme park anymore? Looking at the available board on the US map of parks that still stand (or at least the infrastructure does), why do you hold a beyond-wrecked shell over the fully constructed possibility of a park like Hard Rock Park/Freestyle Music Park? Or even consider utilizing the existing infrastructure at a former amusement base such as Geauga Lake? I understand the fact that things are salvageable at what was Six Flags New Orleans, but what is the real use in pumping funds into a park that will ultimately leak them like a sieve.

 

I know you don't appreciate our collective skepticism here, but you have to realize coming in here that we've seen major ventures sink in less than two months from their opening... Just because it is a good idea in theory or on paper, doesn't make it a great idea in actuality. If there is some reason to believe that Southern Star Amusements' vision is any more viable than the ones that led the creation of Hard Rock Park, Wild West World, the re-investment in Freestyle Music Park or that crazy idea for the Orlando Thrill Park, then I'd be more inclined to listen with more good faith, but as of right now, your words and all that we have seen from Southern Star Amusements has been no better than anything I've mentioned above.

 

All excuses/apparent setbacks aside, I just don't see any reason to think that this project has any more chance of success than half of the parks announced for Dubai, most of which are dead in the water or in this case, the desert.

 

EDIT: By the way, I need to ask you to stop double posting from now on. In quoting people, feel free to quote multiple people in a single post using the Quote button in your posting window. Although we welcome you to the forums, I must let you know that double posting isn't allowed on Theme Park Review.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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