Two companies make a bid for VisionLand at bargain basement prices

Posted Friday, October 18, 2002 4:59 AM | Contributed by astrosgp

Two companies have made bids to buy VisionLand at a fire sale price compared to the $90 million 11 Jefferson County municipalities spent building the now bankrupt amusement park. In the only bid made public, Louisville-based Themeparks LLC offered to buy VisionLand for $4 million, a fraction of the $25 million asking price the West Jefferson Amusement and Public Park Authority sought. San Diego-based Team ProParks LLC also made a bid but would not reveal the amount or conditions. Paul McCrade, a partner with Team ProParks, said his company's bid was comparable to Themeparks' and between $3 million and $5 million.

Read more from The Birmingham News.

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Friday, October 18, 2002 6:27 AM
I was surprised at how much it'll take to restore the Rampage coaster. No wonder so many parks don't have that many wooden coasters.
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If you want expensive rides, you're going to pay for them, in one way or another.
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Friday, October 18, 2002 7:09 AM

With the park and it's rides going for bargain basement prices, could we see other major park chains become interested again? I still think for the long term operation of the park the best option is the management team responsible for Wild Adventure. If the creditors are willing to settle their claims for pennies on the dollar, that is. I would think that at this price level it would be almost as profitable to just sell the rides, the excess land and bring in a management team to operate the water park.

I know that Six Flags and Cedar Fair have not shown interest but the chance to pick up a park that has only be shut down for one year and get a foothold in Alabama seems like a great opportunity.

Pleeeese Cedar Fair consider buying the park for 5 million, put in 5 million to get it running, add a S&S Drop Tower, Carosel, Wild Mouse, some flat rides and a B&M coaster. Mix in some Advertising and for less than 50 million you have a strong play in the Southeast.

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Friday, October 18, 2002 9:34 AM
Do I understand this correctly--11 local govts funded this boondoggle?
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Friday, October 18, 2002 10:23 AM
Yes, the City of Birmingham as well as surrounding suburbs threw money into this white elephant. I cannot believe that cities would give millions of dollars to a man that would make his brother in law the GM of the park. Especially someone who had NO amusement experience much less managerial training. That should have thrown up like a million red flags right there...

I also don't understand how the backers would think that a city of Birmingham's size can support a midsize regional theme park. I can see how the waterpark would do great though. Southern heat makes waterparks money, thats for sure.

As long as the county keeps dragging their feet, companies like Cedar Fair will stay clear of them. I cannot believe they jerked around Wild Adventures enough to make them pull their bid, but there is definitely something rotten in Bessemer! They could have easily gotten their asking price last year, yet they waited and waited and have to settle for less than 20% of what they wanted.

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I hear a train a comin'
Comin' round the bend :P
TR2k3....GET READY!


*** This post was edited by Chris Godsey on 10/18/2002. ***

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Friday, October 18, 2002 10:25 AM
boondoggle?!
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Friday, October 18, 2002 10:58 AM
boon·dog·gle: a wasteful or impractical project or activity often involving graft

Also a braided cord worn by Boy Scouts as a neckerchief slide, hatband, or ornament.

Take your pick.

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Virtual Midway
http://www.virtualmidway.com

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Friday, October 18, 2002 1:13 PM

I'll take A, Mr. Rayburn.

Moosh - suddenly in 1977 again.

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Sig under construction - big announcement coming soon!

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Friday, October 18, 2002 3:41 PM

Why are there so many lawsuits and fine surrounding the park? Very poor planning I suppose.

I have a feeling the park will end up getting sold off and bulldozed into history.

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Waiting for the CP announcement to be made so that about 1000+ posts will be made complaining about it.

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Friday, October 18, 2002 4:17 PM

brother-in-law??? Who are you referring to?

there are so many lawsuits against the park because the park owes so many companies. Which, by the way, does stem from bad management, especially Larry Langford.

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Friday, October 18, 2002 5:49 PM
I didn't care about the park as a whole, but I sure hope that Rampage (one of my favorite woodies) sticks around...
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Friday, October 18, 2002 5:52 PM

This is such a pathetic situation, anyone here wanna take the park off the hands of these ridiculous people who call themselves businessmen and owners of visionland. You know the situation is extremely desperate when they are willing to sell the park at 20% percent of what they wanted, they obviously screwed up enough to scare off most investors or at least the ones that they falsely created such as Busch.

Seems like this is a real bargain right now, but so much work is going to be involved if the new company is going to succeed.

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Friday, October 18, 2002 6:42 PM
Wow, that is a really low bid. I could name a good handful of people I know who could afford to buy the park, and that have houses worth millions more than that! They could at least place a bid a little higher...But maybe if the right company gets it, the park could become something great.
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Friday, October 18, 2002 7:28 PM
Anybody who says that this park cannot succeed apparently isn't aware that this park was PACKED and made a LOT of money during its first season. Why? Because they had someone running the park who knew what he was doing. Unfortunatly, Larry Langford's ego got in the way and he fired the guy. Too bad, too, because I think there are plenty of people who would like to see a good family park here.

I know it's not as big as a lot of places, but Birmingham is actually a pretty good sized metro area, not to mention all the towns and cities that are within a 90 mile radius of the area. Given the right management, this park can be great.

BTW, the bondholders don't *want* to take $5 mil for the park that cost them $90 mil to build, but they would better off doing that than selling the park piece by piece.
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*** This post was edited by Fafolguy on 10/18/2002. ***

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Friday, October 18, 2002 10:40 PM

If they really think about it, They should sell the park for that price. This gets them out of all ownership and ect. What I am not sure of is the new owner aquires the debt? If so then I would surely not pay the full asking price.

They will make it up eventually in employee and property taxes not to mention tourism.

Chuck

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Charles Nungester.
Is it about coasters or friends? I say both!

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Saturday, October 19, 2002 5:27 AM
4 million for a theme park? I know places where 2 acres of land is that much.
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Saturday, October 19, 2002 6:15 AM
For those who think that Birmingham cannot support a park: The Birmingham Metro Area has about 920,000 residents and is expected to hit 1,000,000 by 2007.

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Proud member of a high school marching band.

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Saturday, October 19, 2002 2:57 PM

Yeah, and Kansas City has about 1.8 million as of 1999, and can sometimes barely support a park that has been there for 30 summers. Their attendence has been dropping for years, and ended below a million for the last few.

Population base should not be a determination. You have to look at not only the local numbers, but those within a reasonable travel distance. You must also take into account what other entertainment options are available.

Build it and they will come, does not always work.

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Waiting for the CP announcement to be made so that about 1000+ posts will be made complaining about it.

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Saturday, October 19, 2002 3:00 PM
What someone is willing to offer for a business is a function of the risks and potential profit. With all the legal and political entanglements of this park, it is understandable that no one is going to be willing to offer much.

There are many things that determine the success of a park. Some fail with lots of people nearby. Some succeed in remote locations.

Knobel's draws over 1,000,000 guests per year in Elysburg PA which is pretty much the middle of nowhere. Holiday World draws 750,000 in a location an hour from Louisville and 3 hours from Indianoplis or St. Louis. And, Louisville and St. Louis have their own parks. But Knobel's and Holiday World have managers who understand magic.
*** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 10/19/2002. ***

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Sunday, October 20, 2002 2:05 PM

What's really sad about the mess is that if the government authority accepts either of the bids then the taxpayers will end up paying for the misfortune.

At least Wild Adventures offered to make the bond holders "whole" (i.e., paid-in-full) over the next 5 years. Neither of these new bids offer anything other than debt to the cities.

But obviously someone thought they could get a better offer and was unwilling to negotiate to bring the matters to closure quickly and the potential white knight ran away.

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