Posted on Tue, Sep. 13, 2005
Six Flags announces plan to close Houston theme park
By DAVID WETHE
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER
Six Flags will close its Houston theme park AstroWorld at the end of this season and sell the 109-acre site.
The company announced the plans Monday, saying a sale makes more sense than renovation because land values around the park have risen sharply. The land sits in southwest Houston across Loop 610 from the Reliant Stadium complex south of downtown, near the southern end of Houston's new light-rail line.
Proceeds from the sale will help pay down Six Flags' $2.5 billion debt. The company said its bank lenders must approve the plan.
Some of the park's 119 permanent workers will lose their jobs and some will be offered positions at other parks, the company said. The park's 1,500 seasonal workers will not be affected this year.
AstroWorld's 45 rides and attractions will be shipped out to Six Flags' 29 other parks across the country.
The Oklahoma City-based company will still operate Six Flags SplashTown, a water park in Spring, about 30 minutes north of Houston.
Six Flags, which hired Cushman & Wakefield to sell the park, said the decision to close down the 37-year-old park had nothing to do with the planned takeover attempt that Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder announced last month. Snyder, who wants to oust three board members, has said that the company owns about 3,500 acres that could be put to better use.
The decision to close was also based on lagging attendance and disagreements over shared parking with Reliant Stadium that spiraled into an unresolved lawsuit.
"It's kind of hard to have a theme park with nowhere to park," said Debbie Nauser, a company spokeswoman.
Six Flags, which sold its European parks and a park in Ohio last year, said it has no plans to sell any of its 29 other parks. It operates Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor in Arlington.
AstroWorld opened on 57 acres in 1968. It was rebranded as the nation's fourth Six Flags park in 1975.
"We had a great run with AstroWorld and have been proud to serve as a family entertainment venue in the community for so many years," Kieran Burke, chairman and chief executive of Six Flags, said in a statement. He said the site has "great potential for economic development."
Tom Brownell, an Arlington-based broker who sold Six Flags' excess real estate in several places nationwide about 10 years ago, said the company could find it hard to sell the land.
"I think it would be challenging depending upon what kind of development is proposed," he said. "After 25 years in the business, I'm really skeptical that you just could put up a for-sale sign on something like that in that part of Houston and earn top dollar for the stockholders."
Six Flags shares (ticker: PKS) fell 7 cents to $7.09. The sale plans were announced after the market closed.
By the power of greyskull!
^^^^ Yeah it does suck!!!But a look at the bright side, That's a big opportunity for the city to find a bigger and better project that could bennefit Houston Greatly.So Yeah it 's bad but it could also be very good.So I just hope they find the right developer to make sure that the project that does arise is well worth the Demolition of Astro world.
The best part of AstroWorld was the location on 610. Anything new might be way outside of 610.
Which Six Flags did more business, Arlington or Astroworld?
^Not even close in favor of Arlington, which has forever been one of the top 3 or 4 Six Flags parks in attendance.
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