Hey guys, how crowded is this park typically on opening weekend? I’m still bummed out that I missed out on this park last summer and am thinking about taking a drive up there for opening day. Do they usually have issues with rides not being ready to go on opening day? I’m mainly interested in Railblazer, Gold Striker, and Flight Deck, but the more coasters that are open, the better. Thanks in advance!
Cedar Fair has finally bought the land that California Great America sits upon. This could more quickly accelerate previously proposed changes to California Great America (front entrance plaza, expanded hours internally green lit rides). In the long run this relieves CF of a $5.3 million rent payment each year for the next 55 years through 2074. In order to create significant impact to the financial bottom line in any one year, the $150 million cost will be spread out over decades through long term borrowing.
Great America owner buys theme park property from Santa Clara for $150 million The theme park has leased the land from Santa Clara since 1989
By Thy Vo | firstname.lastname@example.org | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: March 28, 2019 at 12:44 pm | UPDATED: March 28, 2019 at 5:01 pm
SANTA CLARA — In a move that could lay the groundwork for California’s Great America’s expansion, Cedar Fair Southwest has purchased the 112-acre theme park site for $150 million after leasing it for three decades from the city of Santa Clara.
The Santa Clara City Council on Tuesday approved agreements finalizing the sale with the Ohio-based company, which owns 13 amusement and water parks across the country.
A master plan approved by the city in January 2017 envisions an expansion of hours and park operations, as well as a new entertainment district outside park gates.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to solidify our control of 112 acres in the heart of Santa Clara,” Cedar Fair President and CEO Richard A. Zimmerman said in a written statement Wednesday. “The transaction underscores our long-term commitment to enhancing and expanding California’s Great America, insuring a high-quality, family-friendly entertainment destination for those who live and work in Northern California.”
The city was forced to sell the property, which it bought in 1985 with money from its former redevelopment agency, as part of a state law that dissolved redevelopment agencies statewide.
There have been rumors in recent years that another buyer would come along and try to change the property’s use, even though the theme park’s lease wasn’t set to expire until 2074.
“It’s great we’re going to be able to retain a theme park here in Santa Clara,” Mayor Lisa Gillmor said at Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s hard to let it (the property) go … but I think the outcome is going to be very beneficial to Santa Clara.”
Redevelopment agencies take portions of property tax money that otherwise would have been divided among local government agencies such as schools, the county and special districts and use it to improve blighted areas. Santa Clara’s redevelopment agency purchased a number of properties near the theme park, including the site of Levi’s Stadium and convention center.
But after the state dissolved redevelopment agencies in 2011, cities have had to sell their assets and properties to pay off existing debt. That’s why Santa Clara had to cede its ownership of the Great America property.
The company has leased the land from Santa Clara since 1989, providing it with the revenue to operate the city’s main parking lot there and an electronic billboard.
When the city took bids on the property last year, Ashkenazy Acquisition, which has residential buildings, hotels and shopping malls in its portfolio, submitted the highest bid, at $158 million. But the city and bidder couldn’t come to an agreement over the terms of the sale, particularly about long-term use of the city parking lot, according to assistant city manager Ruth Shikada.
Cedar Fair was the second-highest bidder and, as part of the existing lease, had first right to match the highest offer on the property. As part of the sale, the city will transfer the billboard to Great America and come up with a new agreement for use of the city parking lot.
The lease generates about $5.3 million annually in fixed rent, plus additional rent — an estimated $1.18 million this past fiscal year — based on a percentage of revenue generated by the park, money that goes toward paying off redevelopment agency debts.
Because money used to originally purchase the land came from the city’s former redevelopment agency, proceeds from the sale will be distributed among the various taxing government agencies. The city’s share of that is about 10 percent, or $15 million, according to Shikada.
Council member Patricia Mahan called the sale of the land a “substantial loss” to the city.
“The redevelopment agency dissolution has been a very painful and long process,” Mahan said. “In light of these very difficult circumstances, this is really the best outcome for the city and Cedar Fair.”
According to the company’s statement, Cedar Fair will finance the purchase of the property “through additional long-term borrowings.”
Last edited by larrygator on Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:43 pm.
As usual, my analysis is free of charge! Original enough to not steal someone else's quote as a signature
Awesome! Sometimes these private-public partnerships can be very beneficial to both parties, but in this case it seemed it was just giving everyone headaches. Hoping this helps everyone but Prudential.
Went there on March 24. The park was not crowded. I was there for Rail Blazer. BUT they were only running one train! Excruciating slow line. It is a fantastic ride, but needs a better loading operation.
Patriot and Flight deck are fine classic B&M rides. B&M has come a long way since they made those.
In the past I believe it was on Saturday mornings. I used that quite a bit when I was out there for a summer.
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