Great America to shut within 11 years as land in Santa Clara is bought

SANTA CLARA — The Great America theme park’s final rides are in view now that one of the Bay Area’s biggest real estate developers has bought the land beneath the iconic Santa Clara amusement center for $310 million.
The beloved amusement park is set to shutter within the next 11 years.
Prologis, a mega-developer whose specialties include industrial centers and logistics hubs, bought the land from Cedar Fair, which has been attempting to chop debt, including through asset sales such as the land deal in Santa Clara.
“We chose Prologis as our partner because of their deep ties in the Bay Area and their reputation for working closely with local communities on large developments,” said Richard Zimmerman, chief executive officer with Ohio-based Cedar Fair.
2021: Guests enter the California’s Great America amusement park on Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Santa Clara, Calif. The park opened to the public on Saturday for the first time this year, operating at 25% capacity under county COVID-19 restrictions. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)2021: Guests ride the Rail Blazer roller coaster at California’s Great America amusement park on Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Santa Clara, Calif. The park opened to the public on Saturday for the first time this year, operating at 25% capacity under county COVID-19 restrictions. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)2020: California’s Great America remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)2017: The Patriot roller coaster takes riders through a 360-degree loop during a preview ride at California’s Great America amusement park in Santa Clara, Calif., on Friday, March 31, 2017. The first floorless coaster in the park’s history takes riders from a nine-story drop, into a 360-degree loop, a helix that threads the loop and a corkscrew at a top speed of 45 mph. The coaster will makes its official park debut on April 1. In celebration of the new ride all current and past military service members with a valid ID will receive free admission from March 25-May 29.(Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)2015: Levi’s Stadium is visible behind Carousel Columbia before the weekend opening of California’s Great America theme park in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, March 26, 2015. The park will be celebrating its 40th anniversary season. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)2015: Diego Rivera cleans up Thunder Raceway as workers prepare for the weekend opening of California’s Great America theme park in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, March 26, 2015. The park will be celebrating its 40th anniversary season. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)2011: Families gather to watch the fireworks at Paramount’s Great America, Santa Clara, California on July 3, 2011. (Josie Lepe/San Jose Mercury News)2011: Crowd leaving after fireworks at Paramount’s Great America, Santa Clara, California on July 3, 2011. (Josie Lepe/San Jose Mercury News)2011: Woo family, on right, of San Jose watches the fireworks at Paramount’s Great America, Santa Clara, California on July 3, 2011. (Josie Lepe/San Jose Mercury News)Flor Vazquez of Menlo Park and Traci Knox of San Jose try out Invertigo, Great America’s newest ride on April 2, 1998.1998: Invertigo, Great America’s newest ride, opened for a test run on VIP/Media day on April 2, 1998. Dignitaries received the privilege of the first ride.1997: Riding the Extreme Sky Flyer at Great America in Santa Clara, 1997. The new ride costs every rider an extra $20 on top of the entrance fee. (Conta Costa Times/Bob Pepping) 1986: Marriott’s Great America patrons enjoy the thrill of riding “The Grizzly” roller coaster in this 1986 image.1991: Riders express their exhilaration after completing a ride on “Vortex” at California’s Great America.
CBRE, a commercial real estate firm, arranged the property deal, which will lead to the shutdown of the park in no more than 11 years, although the exact timing is unclear.
Under the terms of the agreement, Prologis paid $310 million to Cedar Fair to buy the land. Prologis simultaneously agreed to lease the land back to Cedar Fair.
“Cedar Fair will continue to operate the park for a period of up to 11 years and then will close existing park operations at the end of the lease term,” the company stated Monday. Cedar Fair is one of the nation’s largest operators of regional amusement parks.
Cedar Fair bought the land from the city of Santa Clara in 2019 in the wake of the dissolution of municipal redevelopment agencies orchestrated by the state government to help address a prior budget crisis.
Prior to the 2019 transaction, Cedar Fair had leased the land beneath the park for roughly 40 years.
“The sale and lease agreements allow us to monetize a high-value asset in the heart of Silicon Valley at a very attractive multiple,” Cedar Fair CEO Zimmerman said in a prepared release.

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