WPCNR PLAYLAND-GO-ROUND. By John F. Bailey. September 4, 2014 UPDATED 6 P.M.:
In a hearing of the County Legislature Labor, Parks, Planning and Housing Committee reviewing the two private operators as possible operators of Playland today, it became clear the county had a choice of two entirely different approaches,:
One promised more money upfront with a larger park than the other candidate.
The other promised an upgrade with many more modern rides, efficient marketing and professional ride management.
Central Amusements International, the saviors of Coney Island Luna Park promised a 7% rent of gross revenues to the county,(similar to their arrangement with the City of New York) and suggested they would revive attendance to the park up to 850,000, and invest $20 Million in capital improvements mainly in a series of new rides, overhauling the infrastructure, repairing all the collonades, and replacing machinery of a number of the park’s more ancient rides (some of the machinery dates back to 1985). The also promised a marketing blitz based on their successful repositioning of Luna Park in Coney Island
Central emphasized they had the experience in the New York area, having made Coney Island Luna Park a success despite the disruption of Hurricane Sandy, and stated with emphasis they were the county’s best choice. They said they would generate about $20 to $30 per attendee…with additional revenue coming from ancillary expenditures at the park.
Standard Amusements, promised the county more money by far: a flat $5 Million in revenue a year, in excess of paying the debt service, and promised a 9.2 Million profit overall, saying that if the eventual handle exceeded that, the county would stand to make more than the $5 Million profit. This would begin (the profit to the county) in the first year of Standard operation.
Standard, which is backed by a hedge fund, also promised a billion dollar endowment to be used exclusively to continue to rehab the Park into the future. Standard noted they had revamped two amusement parks with water oriented themes.
In the course of the conversation, Standard said they had not toured the Playland Park this summer, while Central Amusements executives had toured the park six times.
One principal of Central noted (when a legislator asked him why he only went on three rides in three hours one evening), he said the attendants at the rides took too long to process the lines and load the rides. He said this would be vastly improved to accelerate ride revenue if Central took the park over.
Standard said that they expected more appealing restaurants to augment revenues, and draw larger crowds. Do accommodate admissions of over 1.2 Million, Standard said they would require all of the present parking area, with possible expansion of it, including the possibility of a double-deck of parking. Standard said they would bring three water oriented attractions to the park possibly around the pool area, and restaurents about the Boardwalk area.
Peter Harckham, Chairman of the Playland review process cautioned as the hearing began, that no legislation was being considered today.
At the close of the meeting, Central Amusements said in response to Ken Jenkins, the legislator who suggested the two companies could work together to run the park in a mutual arrangement, that they had tried previously to see if there was grounds for working together, but “they could not,” and said Central would not work with Standard, as Jenkins had suggested.
The entire hearing may be viewed at