Cedar Fair subsidiary sells land in Michigan

Posted Saturday, July 28, 2012 2:08 PM | Contributed by Jeff

After 38 years, more than 465 acres of land in north-central Cambridge Township has passed from an Ohio amusement park to a local couple. Information provided Tuesday by the Lenawee County Register of Deeds office shows Cedar Point of Michigan Inc. signed a land contract sale agreement April 26 with Dale and Dee Warner of Tecumseh.

Read more from The Daily Telegram.

Saturday, July 28, 2012 2:28 PM

So much for my dream of Michigan's Adventure 2.0.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012 2:37 PM

I researched on Google Maps, and found that the property sold is nowhere near Michigan's Adventure, fyi. This property is south of Jackson, Michigan.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012 2:55 PM

I don't think sws meant that it was land that Michigan's Adventure could expand upon, but rather that it was a large plot that accommodate another, separate park--which doesn't have anything to do with its proximity to MiA.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012 3:00 PM

I take it this was the land that was going to be Cedar Point North at one point in time .

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Saturday, July 28, 2012 3:08 PM

Here's info from a 1974 Amusement Business article on the proposed park. Neighbors protested, and Cedar Point later that year was sidetracked by an attempted merger with the Marriot Corporation (yes, the original 'Great America' people.) Oh course that never happened either.

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July 20, 1974
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Cedar Point plans center near Detroit

Cedar Point, Inc., operator Of the Ohio lakefront funspot of the same name, has announced plans to invest $12 to $15 million in a new recreation center to be located 65 miles south of Detroit in the neighboring state of Michigan.

However, it is reported that about 100 residents of Cambridge Township near the proposed site in Lenawee County plan to protest the venture on the basis of the traffic problems such a facility may generate.

According to plans announced by Cedar Point, Inc., the new facility would he constructed on a 450-acre site and employ about 3,000 workers each season. Planned opening date is the spring of 1976.

It is reported that studies have indicated 4.8 million people live within one hour's drive of the selected site and another 5.2 million within two hours drive.

Preliminary site engineering for utilities will he accomplished by a Toledo firm, Jones and Henry, Ltd.

Last edited by Flyer Addict Chris, Saturday, July 28, 2012 3:10 PM
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Saturday, July 28, 2012 3:18 PM

There's a little bit more information about the Cedar Point of Michigan park in this blog. Of note is Cedar Point's Gemini and Jr. Gemini that were going to be installed there as well as Vallyfair's Corkscrew.

http://rejectedamusements.blogspot.com/2009/10/cedar-point-of-michigan.html?m=1

I'm not sure if there's any real source for that info or if the blogger wrote based on word of mouth.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012 3:22 PM

I didn't see Mr. Smith's post before mine was posted. I was wondering if the property that was spoke about in the article was attached to Michigan's Adventure park, so I investigated and reported my findings here. :)

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Saturday, July 28, 2012 3:58 PM

I think CF owns 10 or 15 acres across the street from MiA, and a couple more acres scattered around the area. I don't think 465 acres connected to MiA would have ever been sold.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012 7:36 PM

They've been paying taxes on 465 acres of useless land for 40 years? How seemingly moronic.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012 7:58 PM

The article reads, "Cedar Point of Michigan had leased the tillable land over the years for farming purposes".

Last edited by LostKause, Saturday, July 28, 2012 7:59 PM
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Saturday, July 28, 2012 8:57 PM

Something else that is interesting about this...

When Gemini was built, it was equipped with storage tracks sufficient to store five trains. That's two storage tracks to the left and downtrack of the transfer table, the transfer table itself, and a single track, if I remember correctly, uptrack of the transfer table on the right-hand side. That single storage track was mounted on a set of supports wide enough to accommodate two tracks, but only one was ever installed.

When this was pointed out to me, I discussed it with the person who pointed it out. Why would a coaster with six trains (running in pairs, so at minimum it would have two on the running tracks) on it need to have enough storage tracks to accommodate five trains? And why would it be designed to store six? Our speculation is that if Gemini were designed to be the only adult coaster in a new park in Southeast Michigan, then perhaps the intention was to order the ride with eight trains, so that even if something went wrong, it would *always* be able to run six.

Sigh. And now it can't even run four without stacking anymore.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Last edited by RideMan, Saturday, July 28, 2012 8:59 PM
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Sunday, July 29, 2012 4:15 PM

In the Irish Hills along US 12 between Jackson and Adrian. Story I always heard is that Gemini was envisioned for there.

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Friday, August 3, 2012 12:12 AM

Years ago there was also a plan to build a Cedar Point replica park near Grand Rapids. The owner of the land was just a farmer, and the land was for sale for only $250,000.00. Like Disney, The owners of Cedar Point attempted to buy the land under another company name, so that it would not draw media attention. Well, of course it did.

The local news media grabbed a hold of the story, and plastered it all over the local press, and TV. Sister park to Cedar Point to be built near Grand Rapids. This news got back to the farmer, and he raised his price on the land to $3,000.000.00

Needless to say, they didn't buy the land. I'm wondering if the land outside of Jackson was an alternative site. Probably one of the reasons Cedar fair purchased MA, they wanted a park in Michigan, and now they have one.

Another company that is good at buying up land for no apparent reason is the Meijer Corporation. They own large plots of land all over the state, just waiting for those areas to expand, so they can build there. There are also rumors that Disney has been looking at Michigan land for an auto themed park. But with the failure of Autoworld, it's just a guess as to why they would even bother. But, I'm sure Disney would do it right, if it ever happened.

Last edited by Timber-Rider, Friday, August 3, 2012 12:19 AM
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Friday, August 3, 2012 12:50 AM

There were all kinds of rumors flying around the Midwest in the mid 1970's up until the early 1980's. Marriott's announced presence fueled a lot of them. The Irish Hills project was in the works at the same time that Marriott started having "recruiting parties" in the area trying to obtain experienced personel to open the Illinois park with. As far as CP and later CF the Detroit market had long been a major part of their business, and the effects of the 1973-74 oil embargo had a pronounced impact on business. A park that was closer to the market under those conditions made good business sense. But things settled down and the project got bogged down and eventually shelved. They held on to the property as insurance, a prudent move in the long run. It was there if the need arose again, and it kept it out of the hands of possible competitors. As has been stated they leased it out to farmers which covered the taxes on the property. There were other plots of land that Cedar Point (particularly George Roose) looked at in Michigan but I personally don't know of any that CP itself obtained outside of the Irish Hills project. Mr. Roose personally owned the Rebel Railroad(later Goldrush Junction then SilverDollar City) in Pidgeon Forge, a property that is now known as Dollywood. So it wouldn't surprise me if the local press might mistake his presence as if Cedar Point was involved.

Cedar Point acquired Valleyfair because at the time it made good business sense, as it did with Dorney and later Knotts. They were all established operations that performed well and had plenty of potential growth. The Paramount Parks, well that deal has been beaten to death around here and I'll leave it at that.

Last edited by Dutchman, Friday, August 3, 2012 12:51 AM
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Saturday, August 4, 2012 5:47 PM

Timber-Rider said:

Years ago there was also a plan to build a Cedar Point replica park near Grand Rapids. The owner of the land was just a farmer, and the land was for sale for only $250,000.00. Like Disney, The owners of Cedar Point attempted to buy the land under another company name, so that it would not draw media attention. Well, of course it did.

The local news media grabbed a hold of the story, and plastered it all over the local press, and TV. Sister park to Cedar Point to be built near Grand Rapids. This news got back to the farmer, and he raised his price on the land to $3,000.000.00

Needless to say, they didn't buy the land. I'm wondering if the land outside of Jackson was an alternative site. Probably one of the reasons Cedar fair purchased MA, they wanted a park in Michigan, and now they have one.

Another company that is good at buying up land for no apparent reason is the Meijer Corporation. They own large plots of land all over the state, just waiting for those areas to expand, so they can build there. There are also rumors that Disney has been looking at Michigan land for an auto themed park. But with the failure of Autoworld, it's just a guess as to why they would even bother. But, I'm sure Disney would do it right, if it ever happened.

Timber-Rider, I really wonder where you get your stories from.

Needless to say, there was never a proposed Cedar Point of Michigan being built near Grand Rapids. There were two locations in Michigan.

The primary location was to be the land that was just sold. It was bought under the subsidiary "Cedar Point of Michigan Inc.". I won't go into much detail here because the article explains a lot of it.

From there, the subsidiary decided to try to purchase land where the Fort Custer Industrial Park is between Battle Creek & Kalamazoo. The story of why the company didn't get the land sounds a lot like the one you explained (with some minor changes) so maybe you're confused. Either way, no park was ever proposed in Grand Rapids. The Battle Creek land is the only documented attempt at a purchase outside of the land that was just sold.

The park would've worked a lot better at Fort Custer being it would be located almost exactly halfway between Detroit & Chicago (two big markets). This could've also been the more built up Cedar Point, but we'll never really know. Just imagine what it could've been.

Shortly after the subsidiary announced they couldn't pursue the Fort Custer land, Valleyfair was acquired, which, as stated above, was a smart business move & created Cedar Fair.

As for the reason Cedar Fair purchased Michigan's Adventure, it really had nothing to do with them wanting a property in Michigan (that wouldn't be a motive on its own). They purchased it because it was having trouble and Roger Jourden was retiring. The park almost fell into Six Flags hands but Cedar Fair got it at a really decent price of $28 million. The park had one of the best wooden coasters around and was a great family oriented park. Cedar Fair felt that this fit the portfolio well and that it had potential to increase from its then attendance of 400,000 people yearly. What resulted from the sale was increased profits (look how good the park does now).

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Sunday, August 5, 2012 6:44 PM

Hmmm...I don't understand the location for making this Cedar Point Michigan. It seems like the park would have done nothing but eat away at Cedar Point Sandusky.

Eliminate the MI and Toledo markets with Cedar Point Michigan, and Cedar Point Sandusky only has the Cleveland area as its main customer base?

I guess this was 1974 though, when things were much different than they are today.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012 7:44 PM

You have to understand the circumstances of the time. This project was conceived during the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74. There were domestic gas shortages severe enough that service stations didn't know when the next tanker truck was coming in (in some cases under armed escort). For the first time since WWII fuel was rationed. In some states it was sold to you depending upon whether or not the last number on you license plate was even or odd. People went around stealing gas out of cars and trucks. Auto parts stores couldn't keep locking gas caps in stock. I was there. It was scary.

George Roose and Emil LeGross fearful for the loss of potential business began what was to become the Irish Hills project. Detroit was a substantial part of Cedar Point's business in those days, and with the prospect of limited (and much more expensive) gasoline a park with in short driving distance of that market was very desirable. Several locations in Michigan were looked at with the Cambridge Township location being the winner.

By the time that serious planning had started the valves were reopened and oil started flowing again. You could go to your corner gas station and fill up again any time you wanted. Granted it was twice what you were paying a year ago, but you adjusted your budget to acommadate it. By the end of the 1974 season things were just about back to way things were before. The urgency to put a foothold in Michigan was no longer there, and the project was shelved. The property was essentially mothballed and leased back to farmers to work.

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Monday, August 27, 2012 10:59 PM

Hey Coasterkid20. I heard the information from the media, since I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, and I was a teenager when the Cedar Point news was plastered all over channel 13. I have also been at the Ferris State University library where they had a release study copy of the plans to build the Cedar Point park in a blue binder. I know, because I read it. And, probably the reason that you and others do not know about the plan, is because Cedar Point was not successful in purchasing the land, so the plans were dropped. The land in question was south of what is now the city of Kentwood, but, the land in question was supposidly 25 miles south of the Kent county airport off M-37.

Also if you look at the proximity of Grand Rapids on a map, and go 25 miles south of the Kent County airport, that might put you in the area that you mentioned. If you go south of M-37 from Grand Rapids, the first major city you come to is Battle creek, which is only about a 40 minute drive. I know because I have driven my brother to the VA medical Center in Battle Creek.

You can blame the folks at wzzm13 for the Michigan Cedar Point downfall, because they were the ones who killed it. They have a habit of talking up Michigan projects that never happen. Another was a huge movie and music production studio being built in downtown Grand Rapids, that was killed by people claiming that it would raise the crime rate and bring in more hookers. When the true people behind the demise of that plan, were land owners who did not want to pay more taxes on the land that was just going to waste waiting for the real estate value to go up.

There was another theme park planned for the area as well, and another park planned for the Grayling Michigan area, that has yet to happen.

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Monday, August 27, 2012 11:21 PM

Jeph said:

Eliminate the MI and Toledo markets with Cedar Point Michigan, and Cedar Point Sandusky only has the Cleveland area as its main customer base?

I guess this was 1974 though, when things were much different than they are today.

You're joking right? Cedar Point has always been a tourist destination. In the 70's the park was just as popular as it is today, and it had very little competition. I think the only park that may have been close in popularity was Kings Island. Maybe Hershey Park and Kennywood. There were no mega parks back then. But, when they built Great America in Gurnee, That was big competition for Cedar Point. Probably why someone mentioned the merger with Mariott in another post. As it was Mariott's Great America.

If you asked any high school class in Michigan where they went for their senior trip in the 70's. They will most likely say either Cedar Point or Great America. It's still the same today. Our 6th grade class trip in 1978 was to Great America. Cedar Point was our second choice, but since most of the other kids had already been there, we chose Great America.

At that time, Michigan's Adventure was Deer Park Funland. It only had a handful of rides, a story book train, and lots and lots of deer.

Last edited by Timber-Rider, Monday, August 27, 2012 11:31 PM
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