Developer makes plea with state authorities for $50 million in Kentucky Kingdom effort

Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2010 10:32 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company says if they can get the money soon, the park could re-open in a year and a half. Supporters say the cash would give the park a face lift and add some key attractions leading to more jobs, and the potential for a billion dollar investment.

Read more from WAVE/Louisville.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 10:39 AM

The more this story comes up, the more I wonder how he arrived at $50 million. That sure seems like a lot of cash, and I'm not convinced that there's an easy way to recover that money over time. Let's call it what it is, a massive capital expenditure plan. Could any park the size of Kentucky Kingdom typically spend that kind of money and hope to make it back in a reasonable amount of time?

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 12:52 PM

I don't think so. Six Flags tried that route before and look at where it got them. This reminds me of Six Flags foolishly thinking they could drop 40 millions $US into the small Walibi Flevo in the Netherlands. Before Six Flags expanded it, there was only 2 coasters, 2 water rides and a handful of flats. Six Flags decided to make it a "mega park" that would compete with the other parks and added 4 coasters, a Vekoma mad house, over half a dozen flat rides and 2 years later, added an Intamin 150 feet tall Mega Coaster. Guess what the result was? The park is always empty, they had to almost give season passes away and the attendance never went over 900000 visitors a year. It got so bad it can not support the large numbers of rides in the park and the various owners of the park have been using it as a ride donor. Another park we own need a flat or coaster? Move it from Six Flags Holland/Walibi World/Walibi Holland! I am affraid the new Kentucky Kingdom will never make that 50 millions back like the park I just described.

Is he trying the same stunt he pulled with Magic Springs and pre Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom? Do a ton of investments in a small park and then sell the park before everyone realise the park cannot sustain those investments?

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 1:18 PM

Absimilliard said:
This reminds me of Six Flags foolishly thinking they could drop 40 millions $US into the small Walibi Flevo in the Netherlands. Before Six Flags expanded it, there was only 2 coasters, 2 water rides and a handful of flats. Six Flags decided to make it a "mega park" that would compete with the other parks and added 4 coasters...

Guess what the result was? The park is always empty, they had to almost give season passes away and the attendance never went over 900000 visitors a year. It got so bad it can not support the large numbers of rides in the park and the various owners of the park have been using it as a ride donor.

If you hadn't said Walibi Flevo at the beginning of that, I'd have thought you were talking about Six Flags Ohio (or SFWOA or Geauga Lake - whichever you prefer).

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, November 17, 2010 1:18 PM
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 1:25 PM

Yeah, exactly the same thing came to mind. I've never been to this park, but given its location, it doesn't sound like pouring tons of cash into it, in what feel like an arbitrary way, will help.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 2:22 PM

Can you imagine what Conneaut Lake could do with $50 million? ;)

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 2:39 PM

Squander it away, and be begging for money next year? :)

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 4:58 PM

Yeah, $50 million is a lot of money to have to pay back and I have no idea how they arrived at that figure. It's kind of funny that it is such a nice round number. But I would hope that the redevelopment team learns from the mistake at Hard Rock Park and plan to use some of the $50 million for running the park at least long enough until the park can generate a positive cash flow.

Based on the videos posted on Kentucky Kingdom's website, Ed Hart at least seems like he knows what he's doing. He says the team has come up with a plan (which is one thing that some developers seem to forget to do).

A friend of mine from Arkansas offered good things to say about Mr. Hart without me having to prompt him. He seemed to say that most people in the area credit Hart with doing a great job with the park there.

My impression at this point is possitive. I wish them good luck and hope they are successful.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 8:41 PM

It almost sounds like something Dr. Evil would come up with. "Give us...FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS!"

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 9:53 PM

This new video makes things somewhat clear about the 50 million.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9mde-aWKw8&feature=player_embedded

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010 11:07 PM

I really like Ed Hart. He seems to have a passion for the industry, and the brains to pull this off. Having a poor opinion of Six Flags, and especially after the Intamin accident, I have never payed a visit to KK, even though I live within driving distance. I will go, once the park reopens, mainly due to this guys up-fronted-ness.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010 4:09 AM

Regarding Walibi World, the latest chapter is that the park is that they're losing a coaster. The current owner still feel the park is too built up and they are moving the wild mouse to France.

For Ed Hart, I don't have much confidence things will work out.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010 4:50 PM

Regardless of how great Ed Hart's reputation is in the industry, or how sound his plan is, I highly doubt he'll get that kind of money from the Kentucky legislature. It's completely the wrong time to ask for funding or loans from state governments.

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