Monday, February 8, 2016

Is the Future of California's Great America Foggy Again?

In short: no.  But, the last ten or so years haven't been the most memorable in the history of California's Great America, that's for sure. After being fairly ignored and nearly sold during the planning and construction of the 49ers stadium, the park found some love once again with Cedar Fair's current management team after much strife.

That led to the green-light of Gold Striker, a highly regarded wood roller coaster, but not too much else with big wow-factor in recent years.

A rather outdated aerial of the park © Bing Maps
With the 49ers stadium up and running the park has found a way to coexist, however it seems that another important phase of its history will be coming soon.  The land the park is on is actually leased by Cedar Fair, and while it is a very long term lease they still do not own it.  The city will be selling the land for around $155 million in the near future, and that means it is possible for another developer to snatch up the land, offer Cedar Fair big bucks for the lease, take over, and bring and end to the park.

Granted, that's a very doomsday look at what could be, and probably not what will be.  This story helps paint that picture, detailing a much more positive outlook.  Firstly, Cedar Fair has first rights at purchasing the land, so if they choose not to buy it that might be a sign of disinterest in keeping the park.  Secondly, the park's general manager is quoted in the story saying that they still intend to expand and grow, regardless of who owns the land because of their air-tight lease.

We also know from Cedar Fair directly that they are working on a rezoning of California's Great America that might actually lead to not only bigger park growth, but also entertainment and retail projects adjacent to it.

So it seems the sun may be coming out after all, but we all know what high land value (or the promise of it) can do to a park depending on the operator.  Cough, AstroWorld, cough.  Let's hope not.