Six Flags announced Monday that it will shut down the Texas Giant in 2010 so it can renovate the rollercoaster for the 50th anniversary of Six Flags Over Texas.
The New York-based theme park chain said the coaster will be closed for a full year and the renovation will coast $10 million.
Six Flags Chief Executive Mark Shapiro said he likes the “rickety nature’ of wooden coasters like the Texas Giant, but says it needs a smoother, faster ride and will have new trains installed as part of the renovation.
“The Giant is so huge. It’s turned into a dinosaur,” Shapiro said. “It needs a new life and we’re going to breathe new life into it.”
The Texas Giant opened in 1990 and is over 14 stories tall and 4,920 feet long. The ride lasts 2 minutes and 10 seconds and reaches speeds of 62 miles per hour.
Shapiro acknowledges that not all coaster enthusiasts will view the renovation as a positive change to the 18-year-old coaster but the rehabilitation of the Giant will be a key part of the park’s 50th anniversary.
Six Flags Over Texas, which opened in 1961 in Arlington, will also get another major attraction added in 2011 for the celebration and Shapiro said the company is planning on launching major attractions at all of its 20 parks that year.
The news of the Texas Giant renovation came on a Monday morning conference call with investors and analysts discussing Six Flags fourth quarter earnings.
Rumors intensified last week that Six Flags may have to file bankruptcy this year when the company announced last Wednesday it may be unable to make a $290 million payment on preferred-income redeemable shares, or PIERS, when they mature Aug. 15.
Company executives are currently trying to negotiate an out-of-court agreement with its debt holders, but Shapiro said the portfolio manager of one of the largest holders of some of its bonds “has refused to even meet with me in person.”
According to a New York Times article on Saturday, the fund manager who runs the Fidelity Capital and Income Fund has been reluctant to agree to the out-of-court plan, in which existing common stockholders would receive 5 percent of the equity in the company, and preferred stockholders would receive 10 percent.
Shares of Six Flags are trading around 15 cents this morning, down 1 cent from Friday’s closing price of 16 cents.
Not the best coaster to choose to drop $10 million on.
Hell, why not just build a new coaster?
But what about
I wonder about "how major".....Six Flags Over Texas, which opened in 1961 in Arlington, will also get another major attraction added in 2011 for the celebration and Shapiro said the company is planning on launching major attractions at all of its 20 parks that year.