No Revival for Hard Rock Park
Myrtle Beach’s doomed Hard Rock Park will likely never reopen. Last Friday, the park converted its bankruptcy from a Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. The change in bankruptcy status was made because the park was unable to find any bidders willing to pay $35 million for the $400 million park by the December 15th deadline. This change takes the park’s sale into the asset liquidation phase. Myrtle Beach Online describes this as meaning that this: “signals once and for all that it will not be able to reopen.” But later the article states:
“It is still unclear whether the park will be sold in whole to one company – which may or may not run it as a theme park – or sold off piece by piece.”Myrtle Beach Online
I guess the real difference may be an even more drastic reduction in price and the assets (roller coasters, rides, etc.) being sold off individually. Although, it doesn’t seem to be out of the realm of possibility that one amusement park chain could buy all of the assets. The article goes on to state that PARC Management, operators of former Six Flags parks like Darien Lake and Elitch Gardens, was interested in buying the park, but did not come up with the funds in the allotted time. I had suspected that they might be a good buyer after seeing how they turned around Darien Lake in its post-Six Flags form. Maybe with more time and resources, PARC could have bought the park.
Reasons for Hard Rock Park’s Closing
All along Hard Rock Park officials have blamed the slow year for tourism and increased gas prices. It was interesting to hear from Hard Rock International the cafe and casino company that licensed their name to the park. They state that their reputation has been damaged and that the park’s management did not live up to its agreement to thoroughly advertise and market the product. When I was at the park’s media preview day I interviewed the park’s Chief Creative Officer Jon Binkowski. I asked him about marketing the park and dealing with the rough economy in May even before gas prices got out of control. I’ll have to go back to my interview and listen to exactly what he said. I’ll update this post with a sound bite from the interview or at least the transcript.