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California's Great America - Park sold, eventually closing

JSM

Mega Poster
Cedar Fair just sold the land California's Great America sits on to a real estate company and will close the park within the next 11 years. It's a shame to see the park go from those rumored large scale expansion plans to this. Sigh...
Edit: About a decade ago a similar deal fell through so maybe there is a small reason to hope, but I'm not optimistic.
 

TPoseOnTantrum

Hyper Poster
https://www.businesswire.com/news/h...-at-California’s-Great-America-Amusement-Park
SANDUSKY, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cedar Fair, L.P. (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and immersive entertainment, today announced it has sold the land at its California’s Great America amusement park and plans to close the park. Cedar Fair elected to sell the land to Prologis, Inc. (NYSE: PLD), a Bay Area-based logistics real estate company, for approximately $310 million with a lease agreement. The Company will continue to operate the park for a period of up to 11 years and then will close existing park operations at the end of the lease term.

The land sale, which was marketed by CBRE, was the outcome of a strategic review initiated by Cedar Fair in 2021 to explore potential avenues to maximize the value of the Company’s extensive asset portfolio. Cedar Fair purchased the land at California’s Great America in 2019 from the City of Santa Clara after the State of California dissolved redevelopment agencies, requiring the city to cede its ownership of the property to pay off existing debt. Prior to that transaction, the Company leased the land from the City for more than 40 years.

Cedar Fair intends to use proceeds from the land sale transaction to accelerate progress on its strategic priorities of reducing debt to achieve its $2 billion target, investing in high-return projects within its portfolio such as upgrading resort properties, and reinstating a sustainable unitholder distribution. Based on the strength and pace of the recovery since reopening its parks in 2021, and due to the additional capital raised through the Great America transaction, Cedar Fair expects to reinstate quarterly unitholder distributions by the third quarter of 2022, subject to review and approval by the Cedar Fair Board of Directors.

“We chose Prologis as our partner because of their deep ties in the Bay Area and their reputation for working closely with local communities on large developments,” said Cedar Fair President and CEO Richard A. Zimmerman. “For our investors, the sale and lease agreements allow us to monetize a high-value asset in the heart of Silicon Valley at a very attractive multiple. The transaction also provides us with a substantial sum of incremental capital which we intend to use to further advance our strategic priorities and generate enhanced returns for our unitholders.”
Key Points
  • Has been vaguely rumored for some time now
  • Will see the land sold to Prologis, Inc real estate firm for approx $310M
  • Park will permanently close within 11 years, by 2033
 

John Knotts

Mega Poster
Over the next few decades, I predict more than Great America will close. Land is at an absolute premium in California. Enjoy these parks now.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Sad times.

I don't know about any of you, but this comes as a big surprise to me; CGA had a very elaborate masterplan only a few years ago, if I'm remembering correctly, so something must have changed drastically.
 

Wazzupnerds

Mega Poster
Well thats big. I never thought it would really happen, but here we are. I have to think some things are saved and others are scrapped. I expect we see more stuff moved quickly.

Quick saved/scrapped list just looking over things:

Saved:
Flight Deck
Patriot
RailBlazer
Psycho Mouse
Carousel (City or nearby park buys it)


Scrapped:
Demon
Grizzly
Gold Striker
 
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Snurt2theHark

Roller Poster
What do you mean by that ? What other parks ?
Literally any other mid-sized theme park in California, land value in the state is phenomenal right now and with theme park operators having built up debt over COVID, I guess it became more valuable for Cedar Fair just to sell the land to pay down debt even if the park is still profitable. Disney and Universal are definitely safe but operators like Six Flags and Merlin as well will be contemplating whether it's worth continuing operating in California or whether they'd get more money from selling their parks.

I'm half-expecting the problem to get worse any soon unless there's some sort of recession that hurts house prices and land value.
 
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Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
The urban planning enthusiast in me is really sad to see this park being sold for the land value, when land is so needlessly wasted on every side of the park. Going clockwise from the north, there's an oversized surface parking lot (with a giant golf course beyond), empty plots for a power substation, tons of suburban single-family housing, an office park with oodles of empty surface parking everywhere, a brownfield lot, a highway interchange, a hotel with yet more empty surface parking, an eight-lane stroad, and a bunch more business parks.

Contrast a similar-sized area around Tivoli in Copenhagen, which contains most of the inner city of a national capital, housing around 50,000 of its inhabitants and probably three times as many workplaces, plus a huge railway station.

Santa Clara's urban pattern - or, heck, it's just a suburban pattern - is so tremendously wasteful that they shouldn't have to tear down an amusement park to make room for further development - especially if the development will just be more of the same low-rise buildings standing isolated in the middle of a vast, empty plain of gray concrete. Just loosening the car-centric development a bit, converting some of the bajillion huge parking lots, and learning to make a proper street grid ought to at least double the density. But now, the same pattern with lone buildings in oceans of parking lots will probably continue, creating a great, big nothingscape that will provide pretty much the inverse amount of happiness that the amusement park did.

If anybody wants to learn more about this sort of stuff, I recommend the channel Not Just Bikes on YouTube. It really taught me to appreciate how tremendously depressing North American urban development is.

Oh, and while your Google Maps tab is open on Copenhagen, scroll about two kilometers north of Tivoli and check out the amount of parking available near the Parken stadium, whose total attendance capacity is just a smidge lower than Levi's Stadium across the street from CGA. That's right, there's barely any, the stadium is just surrounded by green parks. That's how one can do it when a city is developed with public transit in mind. Likewise, you won't find any parking near Tivoli either.
 

dixhuit

Roller Poster
Literally any other mid-sized theme park in California, land value in the state is phenomenal right now and with theme park operators having built up debt over COVID, I guess it became more valuable for Cedar Fair just to sell the land to pay down debt even if the park is still profitable. Disney and Universal are definitely safe but operators like Six Flags and Merlin as well will be contemplating whether it's worth continuing operating in California or whether they'd get more money from selling their parks.

I'm half-expecting the problem to get worse any soon unless there's some sort of recession that hurts house prices and land value.
Knot is safe right ?
 

Wazzupnerds

Mega Poster
I'll be even more grim and guess that the only coasters that make it out alive are RailBlazer, Psycho Mouse, and Lucy's Crabbie Cabbies.
I think Patriot has enough life thanks to the conversion to live, Flight Deck will 100% either need to be near tip-top shop or get new trains.
 

Indy

Mega Poster
I think Patriot has enough life thanks to the conversion to live, Flight Deck will 100% either need to be near tip-top shop or get new trains.
I think the age of Patriot's track/structure makes it a likely contender for the scrapyard, with the trains getting sold or shipped to another CF park. Flight Deck has a bit of an awkwardly spread out layout given its relatively small size. When combined with its age, it also seems like a strong scrap candidate. I hope I'm wrong though.
 

i305_zack

Mega Poster
Guys this isn’t Cedar Fair, it’s California. The property tax is too much because the land it sits on is expensive. This is cali to blame for because it’s too expensive for business to happen here. I am completely devastated by this tho and hope a miracle comes out of it, cga is the closest park to me and Railblazer is my fav coaster in Cali and beats everything I’ve ridden at sfmm, it’s almost as good as El Toro, so I am so heartbroken rn
 
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