Saturday, January 15, 2011

Someone just bought an amusement park...

A real estate trust from Florida just bought Pacific Park for $34M, the amusement park that resides on the Santa Monica Pier. The park which will be #27 on my Cotton Candy Road Trip. The park brings in lots of money, but is also expensive to maintain, with paint alone costing $200,000 a year.

I know the park will continue to be run by Santa Monica Amusements so I'm not worried. But the sale brings with it just another reminder as to why I'm doing this book: these parks and their spirit are more important than the almighty dollar. If the money was right, if the new owners, CNL Lifestyle Properties Inc, thought they'd like to go in "a different direction" with the property, the park and it's rides could all be sold and the Pier could turn into a modern day "Pottersville", complete with strip clubs and juke joints and shady women.

Think about it; it really could. Sometimes a park comes very close to becoming a plot of land used for condos (almost Arnold's Park's fate) or a shiny new Costco (Kiddieland's sad fate.)

So I'm relieved this park will carry on. And not just because I'll be visiting it within the next month or so. Imagine if it didn't survive and I pulled up to the gates and had a Wally World moment...

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