September 12, 2005
Houston, TX -- It's the end of the line for the Houston theme park. Six Flags announced today that it will permanently close AstroWorld and it plans to sell the 109-acre site to real estate developers.
Six Flags said they decided to close the park instead of putting forth the investment needed to upgrade the parks facilities and add new rides and attractions. Attendance at AstroWorld has been declining recently.
Another factor supporting the sale was the ongoing uncertainty over offsite parking rights related to Reliant Stadium and Texans football team and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the company said.
Six Flags said the proceeds from the sale of the property will be used for debt reduction and general corporate purposes. The company expects the sale of AstroWorld will yield significant proceeds given the property's size and location within a revitalized and dynamic area of Houston.
"We are always looking for opportunities to enhance shareholder value. In assessing the performance of this property relative to the significant increase in real estate values in the Houston market, we concluded that the best way to unlock this value for shareholders was to pursue a sale of the property," said Kieran Burke, chairman and CEO of Six Flags. "While we continually review our properties in order to determine the best allocation of resources, it is important to note that a unique set of circumstances applies to the AstroWorld property and this action should not be considered indicative of our intentions for any of our other parks."
Six Flags had previously announced last month that it has initiated a process to seek proposals from third parties regarding the possible sale of the company.
The announced closure of AstroWorld today, has no impact on Six Flag's sale process, which the company states is ongoing.
Six Flags said 119 permanent jobs will be lost as a result of the closure, with a number of employees likely to be offered jobs at other Six Flags parks.
The park employs about 1,500 seasonal workers. The closure will not affect the seasonal staff.
Six Flags said it will retain a significant presence in Houston with its Six Flags SplashTown water park, which is located on another site in the city and is expected to be enhanced with equipment from AstroWorld. Six Flags will also continue to serve the market with its parks in San Antonio and Arlington.
"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," said Mr. Burke. "We are grateful to everyone who visited, worked and supported AstroWorld, and we look forward to serving Houstonians at Six Flags SplashTown and other nearby Six Flags parks. We are very encouraged by the prospect that the site has great potential for economic development and are hopeful this sale will ultimately result in significant job creation and economic activity for the city of Houston."
According to Six Flags web site, AstroWorld will remain open through the end of October.
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