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P. 2: Indiana Beach owner buys Clementon Park; Park to reopen in 2021!

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Plot twist! https://nj1015.com/opening-again-clementon-park-splash-world-amusement-park-is-saved/    

Wow surprising... two defunct parks in two years for them. As theme park lovers, we own them a few visits to help them get off the ground in their effort to keep these historic parks operating. A

Some more details on the surprising winning bidder for Clementon Park and Splash World.... The owners of Indiana Beach Amusement Park have bought Clementon Park with the intent to reopen later this ye

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One company is vying for a chance to revive Clementon Park and Splash World, which will be sold at auction on March 23rd, 2021. 

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Melvin Brown Jr., 31, of Sicklerville, a leader of Fresh Development LLC, in front of Clementon Park and Splash World. Brown hopes to purchase the property in a auction with the goal to keep the amusement park and make into a resort.TYGER WILLIAMS / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

https://www.inquirer.com/business/clementon-park-splash-rides-roller-coasters-auction-norfolk-state-20210312.html

For 114 years, it has rested like some fairy-tale village alongside a spring-fed lake in the dark South Jersey pines. But if Clementon Park and Splash World is going to survive into its 115th, it might need a little magic.

The venerable 52-acre amusement park will be sold at auction March 23, 1½ years after it was abruptly shut down. And depending on the vision of its new owner, a corporate park or a housing development might soon replace the rides and water attractions that have delighted generations.

How much interest there is in the park, especially amid the muddied financial outlook created by the COVID-19 pandemic, remains a mystery. The auctioneers, Capital Recovery Group, did not respond to requests to identify the names and number of potential buyers. But at least one has come forward, a group of African American investors who intend to maintain the mission of a place that began its existence in 1907 as Clementon Lake Park.

“I’m convinced this can still be a great park if it’s run right,” said Melvin Brown, 31, a native of nearby Pine Hill. “The old management just didn’t do what they needed to keep the park alive. They didn’t reinvest any money.”

When Brown and others from Fresh Development LLC recently toured the site, they were told that at least six other potential purchasers had visited. Fresh Development is in the process of raising $7 million and, if its bid is successful, plans to reopen Clementon Park in time for the summer season.

“I manage stock assets for a lot of people,” Brown said, “and we’re always looking for opportunities. So when we saw that this property would be available, we decided to try and raise the necessary capital.”

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Clementon Park is being sold at auction on March 23 by Capital Recovery Group, a global private equity firm based in Connecticut. The park has been closed since September 2019. Capital Recovery Group

This would be the initial venture for the investment entity Brown created in August in response to the social upheaval that followed the death of George Floyd. Its members, he said, include doctors, other professionals, a network of truckers, and several socially minded individuals.

“Our major goal,” he said, “is to try to find solutions to close the wealth gap” among the races.

In a 2019 conversation with park ownership, Brown was informed that the asking price would be $2.5 million to $3 million. That same year the property — about 18 miles from Center City on Berlin Road in Camden County — was assessed at $4.5 million.

Whatever it sells for at the auction, Clementon Park, whose previous owners, Oklahoma-based Premier Parks, closed it in September 2019, will require an additional investment in repairs and renovations — “a few million dollars,” Brown estimated.

The impact of COVID has made Clementon’s sale more challenging. According to the website Linchpin, which helps various industries analyze their marketing needs, revenue for the global amusement-park business is expected to reach $71.6 billion in 2021, from $73.5 million in 2019.

Clementon was one of hundreds of parks that more than a century ago were built at the end of urban trolley lines. But in 2021, unable to compete with larger destination parks such as those operated by Disney and Comcast’s Universal division, only a few dozen remain. A few survivors have found a successful formula, combining nostalgia-inducing traditional rides such as wooden roller-coasters. Pre-COVID, for example, Knoebels had been attracting 1.5 million visitors annually to its remote location in Elysburg, Pa.

In addition to its water park attractions, Clementon features a wooden roller coaster with a 105-foot vertical drop plus a giant Ferris wheel, safari train, race-car ride, and a score of other rides. That’s a combination that, many of these parks have discovered, is more appealing to older customers.

“A lot of these places like Clementon are finding it difficult to attract a younger demographic,” said Bill Ross, Linchpin’s founder. “Younger people want a more immersive experience. They want tie-ins with brands like Marvel or Harry Potter. They want breakfast with characters, virtual reality-type stuff.”

Still, if Clementon can be reopened in time for the summer and COVID-related restrictions are lifted, Brown projects that it could attract as many as 170,000 visitors and $7.5 million in revenue.

“We firmly believe we can get it open by then,” Brown said. “I’m not suggesting we’ll be fully up and running because you’ve got to get the proper insurance and licensing from the state. But if we get the proper management and investment dollars into the place, we think it can be very successful.”

A Norfolk State graduate, Brown also is the CEO of Fresh Media Group, an enterprise that has helped with branding for such companies as MGM Resorts, T-Mobile and Toshiba. In 2013, he was invited to the White House as part of an Obama administration initiative to involve more people of color in technology.

In January, a judge appointed Howard Samuels and Rally Capital Advisers as receivers for the Clementon property, which is 13 miles southeast of Camden. Capital Recovery Group was then brought in to sell it piecemeal or in its entirety.

In addition to the rides and water slides, the park includes a 25-acre lake, a dam, and a six-bedroom historical house. It also has a liquor license.

Fresh Development also would like to construct a hotel on the site and repurpose Clementon into a weekend-destination resort, one it hopes will benefit from an expected post-COVID demand for outdoor entertainment.

“We felt like to do that we were going to need some accommodations, so we think a hotel makes sense,” Brown said.

According to Brown, his interest in Clementon, one of the oldest continuously operated parks in the U.S., began when he spent a high school summer operating one of its rides.

“It was such a great job for a kid like me,” he said, “and now I’m at a place where I’m capable of bringing the right resources in and bringing out the best in this park.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Plot twist!

https://nj1015.com/opening-again-clementon-park-splash-world-amusement-park-is-saved/

 

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The winning bid of $2.37 million was made by an anonymous investor who plans to reopen the park,  CRG Vice President Gary Katz told New Jersey 101.5.

"He bought the entire park," Katz said.

CRG later identified the buyer as Clementon Park Holdings, a division of Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park. The company operates an amusement park and water park called Indiana Beach in Monticello, Indiana northwest of Indianapolis.

 

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Some more details on the surprising winning bidder for Clementon Park and Splash World.... The owners of Indiana Beach Amusement Park have bought Clementon Park with the intent to reopen later this year!

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https://www.inquirer.com/business/clementon-park-amusement-buy-auction-splash-20210325.html?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true

The owners of an Indiana amusement park purchased bankrupt Clementon Park and Splash World at auction Tuesday and vowed to continue operating the 114-year-old facility that shut down in 2019.

“They have indicated they plan to reopen later this year,” Bill Firestone, the president of Capital Recovery Group (CRG), which conducted the auction, said Wednesday.

Indiana Park Holdings LLC, which operates Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park, paid $2.37 million for the 52-acre lakeside site in South Jersey, according to a CRG news release.

That price for the park in its entirety — its lake, liquor license and rides — surpassed the total bid by several other entities on Clementon’s individual assets, Firestone said.

A South Jersey-based group, Fresh Development LLC, was interested in the site and raised $3 million, but had to withdraw from the bidding.

“Unfortunately, we had a wire transfer of money that didn’t clear in time,” said Melvin Brown, Fresh Development’s founder. “It was a learning experience and we’re going to try to keep the momentum going.”

The recent history of the Indiana park, which is located on Lake Shafer in Monticello, about 90 miles from both Indianapolis to the south and Gary to the north, is remarkably similar to Clementon’s experience. It closed in 2020, and its then-operators said it would be shut permanently. But Indiana Beach Holdings purchased it and reopened the facility, with COVID-19 restrictions, in June.

With four water rides and 43 amusement rides, it is similarly sized to Clementon.

Clementon, one of the nation’s first trolley parks, debuted in 1907. It was family run until 2011 when it was sold to Premier Parks. It closed for financial reasons in September 2019.

Indiana Park Holdings did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Wow surprising... two defunct parks in two years for them. As theme park lovers, we own them a few visits to help them get off the ground in their effort to keep these historic parks operating.

And I almost spit out my coffee at the quote - Unfortunately, we had a wire transfer of money that didn’t clear in time,” said Melvin Brown, Fresh Development’s founder.  - Typical South Jersey bull***t, what an excuse! It's not my fault!!!

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The new group owning Indiana Beach did an amazing job last year so I'm optimistic they can improve Clementon Park.  Realistically, it can't be any worse than my 2017 visit.

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55 minutes ago, jconsolmagno said:

Wow surprising... two defunct parks in two years for them. As theme park lovers, we own them a few visits to help them get off the ground in their effort to keep these historic parks operating.

And I almost spit out my coffee at the quote - Unfortunately, we had a wire transfer of money that didn’t clear in time,” said Melvin Brown, Fresh Development’s founder.  - Typical South Jersey bull***t, what an excuse! It's not my fault!!!

Yea, my thoughts exactly. Real "Prince Desmond" vibes here.

I thought Fresh Development's plan sounded farfetched to begin with, and while their intentions are admirable, I think this shows the right bidder won. If you manage to screw up the basic act of raising money in time, then you would've probably continued to mismanage the park and run it into the ground like all the past owners.

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I saw they plan to retrack Hellcat...maybe not for this season but definitely next. If they can full retrack it, and remove those trims on the drop, the ride has a lot of potential. The layout is actually really good, the roughness and then trims just killed it. 

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Oh my lord this is amazing! I am so excited for this! Clementon Park just needs an overall cleanup! The water park side is pretty decent, but the amusement park is pretty..... gross. What it could use is a complete retrack of Hellcat, and some new, modern, permanent flat rides to replace some of the aging fairground rides. 

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52 minutes ago, Jakizle said:

I saw they plan to retrack Hellcat...maybe not for this season but definitely next. If they can full retrack it, and remove those trims on the drop, the ride has a lot of potential. The layout is actually really good, the roughness and then trims just killed it. 

Even when trimmed, the ride had some decent airtime up front.  It just tried to kill me if I rode it in any other seat.  I'd love to ride that coaster at its full potential one day.

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I'm no valuation expert but $2.37 million seems like an absolute steal for this place. I wonder if the Covid pandemic was in a way *good* for the prospect of this park reopening. I mean it closed for a reason, probably because nobody was going to the place, I don't really remember hearing anything about for years. Now with stuff reopening it seems like everywhere is drawing a crowd, especially amusement parks so the timing worked out pretty well.

 

Good news though, that log flume over the lake always looked like fun.

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1 hour ago, Jakizle said:

I saw they plan to retrack Hellcat...maybe not for this season but definitely next. If they can full retrack it, and remove those trims on the drop, the ride has a lot of potential. The layout is actually really good, the roughness and then trims just killed it. 

 

Has Hellcat ever been smooth and have the trims always been on it? I never rode it so only go by what I read.

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This is very surprising, I wish this company all the best, I hope they didn't take on too much with both of these parks!

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I applaud this company for their appreciation for nostalgia, and understanding there's still a market for it. (probably the driving factor, but still...)

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9 hours ago, SharkTums said:

This is very surprising, I wish this company all the best, I hope they didn't take on too much with both of these parks!

This is my concern. It wouldn't be the first time  something like that would have happened. Wild Adventures seemed to do pretty well until their owner bought Cypress Gardens and sunk a ton of money into it as well, for example.

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12 hours ago, Hilltopper39 said:

I'm no valuation expert but $2.37 million seems like an absolute steal for this place. I wonder if the Covid pandemic was in a way *good* for the prospect of this park reopening. I mean it closed for a reason, probably because nobody was going to the place, I don't really remember hearing anything about for years. Now with stuff reopening it seems like everywhere is drawing a crowd, especially amusement parks so the timing worked out pretty well.

 

Good news though, that log flume over the lake always looked like fun.

The park was reportedly sold for $15 million about 10 years ago, at the time the previously owners were claiming $1 million a year in revenue.  There are plenty of small parks in the New Jersey area that survive.  With proper market research, a little elbow grease and smart decisions I see no reason this park can't return.  There are enough families in the area that won't snub their nose at a small park.

I just hope enthusiasts don't put unrealistic expectations on the park and sh!t on the park because it is not for them..   I would love to see the new owners utilize the lake like Indiana Beach does to free up some dry land.  

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Wow, a whole second park for Indiana Beach. Clementon looks very similar, so at least the company isn't trying to do two drastically different things. Good luck to them!

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Anyone predicting the Schwarzkopf shuttle from Mexico ends up here? Do they have room?

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Not without removing something else, or putting it entirely over the lake.  The park is incredibly landlocked and surrounded by residential and retail on all sides.

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On 3/25/2021 at 10:11 PM, tanthonyam said:

So any used coasters or major rides on the market??? They might go here.

 

Only used coaster I could think of that I actually could see going here would be Crossbow (Zierer family coaster) at the former Bowcraft park in Scotch Plains, NJ which is listed for sale online: Listing Link

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