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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Didn't Six Flags prove that wrong? lol
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***
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 . . .
Looks like this park may become reality.
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.
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***
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.
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