A buyer for Hard Rock Park, after all? *
It looks like Hard Rock Park
might be saved from the theme park graveyard, after all.
A group of investors, calling themselves FPI MB Entertainment, has put down $2.3 million toward a $25 million purchase of the bankrupt and shuttered Myrtle Beach theme park.
The Sun News in Myrtle Beach this evening quotes court documents saying that the new owners want to reopen the park by Memorial Day.
Of course, the new owners need to arrange financing to borrow the bulk of the purchase price which, in this economy, is hardly a sure thing. But they've put money down and have a deal with the court, so that's the most encouraging news Hard Rock Park fans (both of you -- okay, kidding...) have heard in months.
Update: From an FPI Entertainment press release:
FPI MBE is a group whose members collectively have more than 100 years in the attractions and entertainment industry and are committed to the successful reopening and operation of the Hard Rock Park. Members of FPI MBE include Freestyle Park International, a division of MT Development of Moscow; Roundbox Advisors; and a group of local Myrtle Beach, S.C. area investors. A world-renowned theme park management company has been retained to manage the operations of the park.
That's all there is. The release said that they are not taking questions until after the sale closes.
* Update 2: (Robert does some Googling...) Here's some information about Freestyle Park in Moscow. MT's partner on that is Baker Leisure Group, from Orlando. Steve Baker is the former Epcot World Showcase manager who left Disney in
1998 1988 to form his own themed entertainment management company -- whose first client was (wait for it) the Hard Rock Cafe.
Snarky Robert is snarky (two fans. LOL)
Great news! I just hope things work out. I would love to hit Hard Rock and will make every effort to do so this year if at all possible.
This throws a wrench into my summer roadtrip plans. I had planned DC -> BGE -> Dollywood -> Orlando, but now I'll have to throw HRP into that mix if it reopens.
Well, James, last year we had the "investor" in the park telling us we were all a bunch of idiots who didn't understand the business. See how well that worked out for them...
This year is all about market share. If you try to make your money back on full-price admissions this year, you're done.
One thing the new park owners will need to resist is the urge to plop down a bunch of off-the-shelf midway rides to beef up their offerings. I know money is tight, but I for one will not make the trip if the ride quotient is upped by simply adding a bunch of spinners and flat rides that can be found at any amusement park (or county fair) in the nation. Narrative and theming must be considered - even though it is often more expensive. If HRP wants to become a true vacation destination, then creating story-driven, rock and roll experiences is a must (provided they keep their current overall theme). Maybe the new mgmt team can hire consultants from Disney and Universal for advice?
FPI MB Entertainment ... ha, just like how Walt used fake aliases (or is this a legitimate company? - couldn't find any information on them).
I, for one, thank the heavens that they picked the initial letter "F" and not "T." I don't think could have handled the rumor mill had that happened. :-)
If a parks that desperate for attendance, theres no harm in offering free entry if, say, the guest was forced to buy a $50, in park, gift card, to be used on food, drinks or souvenirs, per person.
After those updates all I can say is:
I would be one of the 2 people Robert was talking about, so this is great news for me. I'm really excited to see what this company can do with the park, provided the deal does go through.
James, I completely understand your aversion to "midway-style" rides, but I honestly think that may be a really solid short-term solution. One of the chief complaints about the park is that there wasn't enough attractions. If they want to reopen the park in three months, they're going to have to do something to correct that problem. It's logistically impossible to get anything major in that time, so I think the only fix is to bring in three or four flat rides to temporarily fill the gap.
Steve, I understand what you're saying, but I am not traveling halfway across the nation to ride a roundup or a scrambler. I want to support the park, but they need to remain on the high ground as much as possible...the promise of future greatness (in 2010 - 11) would be enough to keep me interested. They should do like Disney is doing with DCA and begin construction, but include a preview center with the expansion plans to keep people excited. No sense wasting any money on temporary fixes...
I'd rather see new live musical shows than midway rides, as a supplement to the current line-up. It's hard to remove a ride once it's installed. And it's harder to recast a park's reputation for a specific type of attraction once that's cast. If HRP ever wants to be a premium theme park destination, it must avoid the cheap midway ride "solution."
Well, Robert, the park has already had its identity made as the park that couldn't survive six months. Let's get them out of that hole first.
I'm the other HRP fan that Robert mentioned :)
I've wondered how much HRC was working behind the scenes on this. Remember, Hard Rock did not own or operate this park. It simply licensed its name to the operators. Surely, Hard Rock's owners didn't like seeing their brand name dragged into so many stories about the park's bankruptcy, especially since the Hard Rock Corp. didn't have anything to do with that failure.
The owners paid Hard Rock for the right to use the license. Hard Rock itself really had very little to do with the park, it's design, and operation, and have pretty much been silent through all of this. I'm not sure why HRC didn't step up to the plate on this one.
Glade to see it make a come back...But be careful of BLG...Rmemebr they bought Cypress Gardens Adventure Park..and proceeded to close it...And are reworking it into a water park ...I just dont trust them...And Freestyle is big in the water park end as well...Oh well give it a year and watch ..But I wish them the best ..no matter which way it goes...But I do agree why didnt The Hard Rock Company step in and save it...
I'm new to this site, but I followed the links from Google trying to get info about the Hard Rock Park's new buyer. The comments above are interesting, but I have my own insight about what caused this park to fail and what might be needed to get it on a glidepath to profit.
Strong point, there. The Baby Boomer esthetic behind the Hard Rock brand doesn't resonate as well as Gen X'ers, very little with Gen Y and not at all with their kids. Hard Rock needs to grow the brand, and its theme, to extend to more contemporary music and acts if it is to remain viable.
AWESOME NEWS!!! HRP is a fantastic park.
To correct a point in David Sutter's post, Baker didn't buy Cypress; it was the management company for it until August of last year.
Randy, I second your comment (or third it, I guess, since Robert already concurred) about the current implementation of HRP not being very family friendly. Just take a look at the night time spectacular: Bohemian Rhapsody. Great song, but with lyrics like "mama, just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he's dead", not too many families will be staying for the closing ceremonies....
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