More news on mainstreet USA.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 8:23 PM
Sorry for starting a new thread on this, but I could not find the old one.

Just some more info on the status of the mainstreet usa theme park in Michigan. Not sure how much credit is has(came from screamscape), but I would like to know why they would not require a bond from the city? Seems kinda odd.

The project manager of the Main Street America park project has told officials that they will not require a bond from the county to help finance the park. The project will be funded with $60 million in equity partners and another $100 million in financing from banks and investors. They are asking the state to provide $11 million in improvements to the area and to look into incentives. The next step is to obtain the land from the state and then we’re looking at a 24-30 month construction timetable to open the park.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 9:06 PM
I really think it's a bad idea. I just don't buy that they've done credible feasibility research, and that's a whole lot of money to spend.
Friday, October 26, 2007 3:44 PM
I think it will work. The only thing that scares me a little, is the bad economy im Michigan right now.

I-75 is a MAJOR highway, and the number of people that visit upper Michigan every year is in the millions. Not all of them are going to visit the park, but lots will. There are a lot of people I have talked to around here(north of detriot), that would visit the new park.

Friday, October 26, 2007 3:59 PM
Yes, but as many of us have said before, that highway is major only because people are going through all the wasteland that is mid-michigan to *get* to the good stuff up north.

Anecdotally, when I'm going up north, I'm going UP NORTH. I'm not going to stop by at the tourist traps along the way. The qualities that make Northern Michigan interesting are a 180-degree turn away from the qualities that make an amusement park interesting. I go up there to get away from all the neon and cheese-on-a-stick.

If you had something like this, say, on the way to the Wisconsin Dells, then I'd almost buy it, because the road-side stop is more like the destination. But, on the way up north? I'm skeptical.

What it comes down to is whether or not more people are like me, or like the folks you are talking to. Based on what I know about the guy pushing this project, I don't have that warm fuzzy feeling that he's done the right market research to know the answer to that question.

Friday, October 26, 2007 5:11 PM
It kind of begs the question, that if Michigan could support this kind of thing, why doesn't it already exist?
Friday, October 26, 2007 8:06 PM
I think a small park could do well around Frankenmuth since it's already drawing tons of tourists and could do well with an attraction that would get some of that traffic to add an extra day.

Grayling? According to their Visitor's Bureau, they're the "heart of cross country country". Doesn't sound like there'd be a lot of overlap with the amusement park demographic.

Monday, October 29, 2007 12:31 PM

But look at parks like holiday world and even cedarpoint that are in the middle of nowhere and they are doing great. If cedarpoint did not exsist, there would be very little if any reason for people to go to sandusky.

What's that saying...."If you build it, they will come."

Monday, October 29, 2007 12:35 PM
Sandusky would still have Lake Erie if there was no Cedar Point. Mid-Michigan has nothing else.
Monday, October 29, 2007 12:41 PM
What's that saying...."If you build it, they will come."

Didn't Six Flags prove that wrong? lol

Monday, October 29, 2007 12:59 PM
You would be surprised in the maount of people yearly that visit the Gaylord / Grayling areas. They have championship golf courses galore up there, not to mention the close proximity to Frankenmuth. I can see this working if advertised and protrayed in just the right markets. If not it could easily tank too. Although as said, our economy in Mich. just sucks right now, so that isn't helping. I am one Michigander who will definately find himself at the park when/if it opens. I have friends that have property up there.
Monday, October 29, 2007 1:17 PM
The only way I would consider this viable is if they started small, and tried to grow slowly---CP has had around 110 years to grow to its current size from Switchback. Holiday World has had "only" 60 years to get to where it is today.

Unless you've got a built-in market, and I don't think they do, a $160M park from ground zero has to be ready to live with a lot of years of negative cash flow.

Here is a report on the County's tourism profile:

Maybe I'm not sufficiently visionary, but that report doesn't say $160M investment to me. The *total*, year-round direct tourism revenue is less than $50M, and while summer is the peak, winter gets a good share too. So, subtract off-season visits, lodging costs, etc., that's how much you have as a baseline for park revenue, and you have to grow from there.
*** Edited 10/29/2007 5:17:31 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

Monday, October 29, 2007 1:27 PM
I agree with the comment about the idea of building an amusement park in Frankenmuth. I worked there from 2000-2006 and I can say that the town is constantly growing in terms of hotels and other touristy businesses. For pure location in the state of MI, that would be the place to build an amusement park just because it's already in an area that's a big draw and it's really close to the metro Detroit and Tri-Cities area. I don't think the park in Grayling will do that well being so far out of the way of anybody except tourists (or people with family up north). *** Edited 10/29/2007 5:35:31 PM UTC by arw84***
Monday, October 29, 2007 3:15 PM
One factor in the equation is that global warming may already be in the process of changing Michigan's climate. (Here in NE Ohio, climatologists predict that within the next 30 years, Cleveland will have Tennessee-like winters.) Such an event would possibly help extend the open season for parks in the upper Midwest, like CP and this theoretical new one.

Admittedly, it's ridiculous to rationalize a longer operating calendar for an amusement park out of a global climatic disaster. But it is one, small silver lining . . .

Sunday, November 11, 2007 8:39 AM
More new news....

Looks like this park may become reality.

Sunday, November 11, 2007 9:08 AM
If you link directly to the image, you can get a slightly higher resolution.

Sunday, November 11, 2007 9:45 AM

Brian Noble said:
Yes, but as many of us have said before, that highway is major only because people are going through all the wasteland that is mid-michigan to *get* to the good stuff up north.

You must have forgot about Houghton Lake, and Higgins Lake. I don't consider that waste land. We have a cabin on Higgins Lake, and I wouldn't mind seeing a big old theme park, sounds kinds fun. I still say build it and they will come.

Sunday, November 11, 2007 11:25 AM
I'm not forgetting it at all. Unfortunately, unlike Crawford county, which adjusted for inflation is in only a shallow decline, Roscommon county's lodging tax take is declining in real dollars, let alone in inflation-adjusted figures.

You personally enjoying your cabin up there is one thing. But Roscommon and Crawford together run up about $110M in tourism dollars annually. Compare that to, say, Grand Traverse, which by itself is over $300M.

I'd love to see something like this succeed. But, when a developer with a history of starting bankrupt projects starts one in an area with no hard evidence of significant destination tourist dollars just doesn't give me that warm fuzzy feeling.

If this were a smaller project, maybe I'd be more confident. But $160 million is a LOT of theme park for that tourism market. To give you a sense: Hard Rock Park, smack dab in the middle of what might be the third-largest tourism destination in the eastern US (behind Orlando and the Smokies) is $400 million---in an area that generates about $2.4 BILLION dollars in annual tourism spending. Cypress Gardens, about as close to Orlando (the nation's #1 tourism market) as Grayling is to "up north", was purchased by Buescher with about $20 million (more than half of which came from the state), and is on bankruptcy auction for a minimum bid of about $18 million.

I just don't see how two counties with a combined *annual* tourism revenue of $110 million dollars can support a seasonal theme park costing $160M.

(And, while it may not be seasonal, I just don't imagine myself riding a roller coaster in winter in northern Michigan, "heated tunnels" or not.)
*** Edited 11/11/2007 4:26:44 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

Sunday, November 11, 2007 11:41 AM
Here is another example.

Sedgwick County, Kansas---where Wild West World was located, generates about $1.4 billion in annual tourism spending.

Wild West World, which lasted all of two months before declaring bankruptcy, cost less than $20 million to build.

Sunday, November 11, 2007 6:39 PM
Wild West World had no back up money if they hit hard times. Another thing that seperates this plan and WWW's is that WWW had bad weather when MWA is gonna be indoors so weather cant be a problem.
Sunday, November 11, 2007 6:40 PM
It can be for construction.

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