According to an announcement today by Cedar Fair Entertainment, the parent company of Worlds of Fun, the company has the right to purchase the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas, for $6 million.
Cedar Fair, based in Sandusky, Ohio, also announced today it is purchasing two other Schlitterbahn waterparks, in New Braunfels and Galveston, Texas, for $261 million.
Michael Russell, spokesman for Cedar Fair, said today that Cedar Fair will retain the right to acquire the Kansas City Kansas, Schlitterbahn property for future development, but it has not exercised that right.
“It has to pass through the next phase of diligence before we have a ‘go, no-go’ decision on whether to exercise that right,” Russell said.
Russell said Cedar Fair knows about the history of the death of a boy on Aug. 7, 2016, on Schlitterbahn KC’s Verruckt ride, at the time the world’s tallest water slide. He said if Cedar Fair exercises the option to buy, it would change the name of the Schlitterbahn KC waterpark. None of Cedar Fair’s parks is named Cedar Fair, he added. Cedar Fair plans to retain the Schlitterbahn name on the Galveston and New Braunfels parks, he said.
Russell said Cedar Fair has a deep history of going into regions, acquiring high-value assets, and then investing in them. Its biggest park is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, near the corporate headquarters. In the top tier of its parks are Knotts Berry Farm in California and Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto. It currently has 13 parks and the two Texas parks would increase that to 15.
“I think that if we found that our next phase of due diligence passed muster, that we would look to redevelop and rebrand that property to take advantage of the rapid development going on around it, and it’s in proximity to our Worlds of Fun,” Russell said.
Russell said he would view the Schlitterbahn KC park’s closeness to the Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun parks in Kansas City, Missouri, as an advantage to Cedar Fair.
“If everything pans out, we see opportunity there,” Russell said. “There’s a lot of great economic development going on around that property. We could see that property offering something that Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun does not offer. I think we would broaden our reach to the west, and we could develop a season pass following that then would have access to both parks.”
If Cedar Fair purchases the Schlitterbahn KC waterpark, it would invest in the park to bring it up to Cedar Fair standards, he said. Cedar Fair already has two separately gated water parks, he said, and it also has water parks within its amusement parks.
The Schlitterbahn KC waterpark did not open this year, as it usually does, on Memorial Day.
Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio stated that the company had a general statement about the sale of the two parks posted on its website:
“For the past 50 years, the Schlitterbahn family has focused all its resources, talent, and energy into building Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts into an iconic Texas brand.
“It is now time for the company to enter a new and brighter stage of development and growth.
“We have entered into an agreement with Cedar Fair to purchase our interest in both our New Braunfels and Galveston parks and our New Braunfels resort property. Our South Padre waterpark and resort will be owned by one of the Henry families and in time will be re-branded. Corpus Christi will remain a Diamond Beach property.
“Cedar Fair is a dynamic, brand-oriented company. Under Cedar Fair’s leadership, the Schlitterbahn brand will have an opportunity to grow and expand like the early days when the sky was the limit. While it’s a difficult decision, after several challenging years, we believe that our team, communities, guests, and fans are going to enjoy what lies ahead. We believe Cedar Fair, with their approach to embracing parks that have a unique footprint, will be a phenomenal owner, and with the talented people that are the Schlitterbahn Family, will take Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts to the next level of world-class family entertainment.
“Rest assured, the future of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts is as bright as a July day in Texas. We will always be your hottest, coolest time in Texas!”
In April, a financial statement posted by EPR Properties, which had loaned money to Schlitterbahn, stated: “The Company expects the payoff of the mortgages associated with the Schlitterbahn waterparks of approximately $190.0 million during the second quarter.” (http://investors.eprkc.com/file/Index?KeyFile=397708950)
Doug Bach, Unified Government administrator, said at the Thursday evening UG meeting that said he had been informed that representatives from Cedar Fair will be contacting him in the future to have a conversation about how they can move forward with acquisition of the Schlitterbahn KC waterpark, and discussion on the option they have in that area.
“I look forward to that,” he said.
The announcement of the option on Schlitterbahn waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas, on Thursday was unrelated to a couple of items on Thursday night’s UG agenda mentioning Schlitterbahn, he said. They involved property formerly owned by Schlitterbahn.
One of the items involved the Browndog 9801 LLC purchase of an existing facility, a lot from SVV (Schlitterbahn) at 9801 Troup that is a car wash. An agreement was approved that would ensure that the new owner of the property would assume the same agreement made by Schlitterbahn with the UG, according to the UG agenda. This agreement was approved by the commission, 9-1.
A second item allowed for the building of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Spira Care Medical Center at 9801 Parallel Parkway. The property originally was owned by SVV (Schlitterbahn) and was sold to Bomarto in November 2016. C-Store, operating this project, is subdividing a lot into two parts, and SC made an agreement to purchase the vacant lot next to the convenience store on Feb. 7, 2019, according to agenda documents. SC plans a medical treatment and office facility. The agreement, according to the agenda, was to ensure that SC would continue the UG agreements made with Schlitterbahn. This agreement passed the commission, 10-0.