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The Future of Six Flags New Orleans

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From WLTV.com:


N.O. would like to turn Six Flags site into major sports complex

10:15 PM CST on Sunday, January 20, 2008


The city of New Orleans would like to turn the dilapidated and abandoned Six Flags theme park site in New Orleans East into an amateur sports complex that would house a large high school football stadium along with several soccer, softball and baseball fields.


According to City Councilman Arnie Fielkow, the idea of the complex would be for the city to play host to amateur sporting events that would bring in dozens of teams and their families to the city.


Fielkow says the project is in the vision stage and that over the next four months a company hired by the city will look into the economic viability of a complex.


“We’ll have an expert group come in and look at the feasibility of such a project,” he said. “We need to see what it would cost, how it would be funded and whether the business plan works.”


Fielkow and District E Councilwoman Cynthia Willard Lewis will travel to Disney World next month to study the Wide World of Sports complex they have there to see how the business plan works.


In addition to having a place to host large tournaments, Fielkow said an added benefit would be in giving local youth some top notch facilities.


“This would allow us to build some good facilities for youth recreation and our high schools. Our high schools struggle to find a place to play.”


Fielkow said funding could come from various sources including money that Six Flags owes for opting out of the deal, some of the money that would have been used for a Hornets’ practice facility, and naming rights for each of the complexes.


I would imagine the insurance money Six Flags will get for the park will cover the cost of buying out of their contract, but if not, they could be in even deeper financial problems.

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  • 6 months later...

A company called Southern Star Amusement has just made an offer to the City of New Orleans to pay $20 million in cash for the property with a promise to invest $100 million to bring the park back to life. Click for the article.


I'm not convinced this is legit (the website looks really amateur), but who knows. I don't know how they expect to make a go of that park...it never made money.

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Guest warnerleroy
A company called Southern Star Amusement has just made an offer to the City of New Orleans to pay $20 million in cash for the property with a promise to invest $100 million to bring the park back to life. Click for the article.


I'm not convinced this is legit (the website looks really amateur), but who knows. I don't know how they expect to make a go of that park...it never made money.

Sort of sound like Premiere PArks when they got there start! ^_^

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The Website certainly has laid out part of their plan already. I will be interested to see what happens if anything, and I wonder what the SF chain will do with the Insurance money they are still trying to receive if they no longer have to worry about updating and re-constructin the park. Could be some extra cash there to throw around to some parks that would help out a lot!

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  • 3 months later...

With the Ferris Wheel sitting like that, it kind of reminds me of the famous one standing still in Pripyat, Ukraine today. Now while that was a result of the man-made accident at Chernobyl, this still can be eye opening with just how desolate and forgotten places can be when no people are around an area for a while. Just eerie I suppose wold be the best word.

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I was just sent a link to some amazing new photos of SFNO. Check them all out here.


Before the storm, the park was trying so hard to be New Orleans themed but was still failing. Now that its buildings had been damaged by Katrina's 25-foot storm surge and its grounds were deteriorating from years of neglect, it fit the theme perfectly.


After reading the blog accompanying the photos, I found this quote to be a bit distasteful.

Edited by Eric
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  • 5 months later...

From WWLTV.com:


Nagin heads to New York to talk with Six Flags president


NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin left Tuesday for New York City to meet with Mark Shapiro, the president of Six Flags.


He's discussing a settlement regarding the future of the park in New Orleans East. The city and Six Flags have been in discussions since 2005.


The park has been closed since Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters left behind damage to all of the buildings and rides.


While in New York, the mayor also plans to meet with two developers regarding confidential projects.


City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields and Director of Economic Development Ernest Gethers will join Nagin on the trip. They will return to New Orleans on Thursday.

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From Forbes.com:


New Orleans claims impasse with Six Flags



Negotiations between the city and financially troubled theme park operator Six Flags Inc. over reopening the company's hurricane-shuttered park in eastern New Orleans have reached an impasse, and the city intends to sue, a top official said Wednesday.


City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields said the lack of any clear plans to reopen the site closed since Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and to simply make lease payments to the city is "totally unacceptable."


City officials, including Moses-Fields and Mayor Ray Nagin, met with Six Flags ( SIX - news - people )' chief executive, Mark Shapiro, and the company's general counsel in New York. Moses-Fields said the city indicated its plans to sue during the meeting Wednesday.


Six Flags is trying to restructure its debt to avoid a bankruptcy filing. Moses-Fields said company officials told the city that the park, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, would not be reopened this season. That means no sales tax revenue at the sprawling site that is supposed to be stimulating the local economy and providing jobs, she said.


A spokeswoman for Six Flags was not immediately available for comment, the company said Wednesday afternoon.


Six Flags opened the park in 2003 after rescuing Jazzland Theme Park from bankruptcy and signing a long-term lease with the city to operate it.


Moses-Fields did not specify an amount the city might seek in a lawsuit and gave no timeline for when one might be filed. But she said the city was adopting a "very aggressive stance against Six Flags."


New York-based Six Flags, which operates 20 parks in North America, has said it might have to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reorganize its debt.

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Source: AP


Six Flags: New Orleans rejected buyout deal in '07

By ALAN SAYRE , 04.23.09, 04:02 PM EDT


City officials rejected a deal two years ago that would have paid New Orleans more than $14 million to allow Six Flags Inc. to walk away from its hurricane-shuttered theme park, the company's chief executive said Thursday.


City officials said Wednesday that a lawsuit against Six Flags ( SIX - news - people ) was planned, citing an impasse with the New York-based company over reopening the park in eastern New Orleans


But Six Flags Chief Executive Mark Shapiro told The Associated Press on Thursday that his company - which is now trying to avoid filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - offered in 2007 to pay its lease with the city, in full, upfront, waive all claims to city-owned land used by the park and give the city 86 acres that Six Flags owns.


"Now, the city is asking us to remake the same offer, but we're no longer in a position to be able to do that," Shapiro said.


Shapiro, who met with Mayor Ray Nagin and other officials Wednesday, said the company has no intention of reopening the park "and we've been clear on that for the past year."


"We are completely current on our payments to the city as specified in our lease. And we have maintained the property at the required levels," Shapiro said. "It's been our intent for almost two years to work out a walkaway agreement that works for both parties. And we believe we are still on that track."


But facing its own financial problems, Six Flags is unable to match the 2007 offer, Shapiro said.


A spokeswoman for Nagin, Ceeon Quiett, said she was not part of the negotiations and could not comment on Shapiro's statements. She said City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields was traveling and would be asked to comment later.


On Wednesday, Moses-Fields said the city had informed Six Flags of its intent to sue. She called the lack of any plans to reopen the site, closed since Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, "totally unacceptable" though lease payments were still being made.


Moses-Fields said the park was supposed to be stimulating the local economy and providing jobs.


Shapiro said the lease - at $1.4 million a year - runs until an option date in 2017.


Six Flags, which operates 20 theme parks in North America, opened the New Orleans park in 2003 after buying what had been known as the Jazzland Theme Park from bankruptcy and signing a long-term lease with the city to operate it. Jazzland opened in 2000.


Now, Six Flags itself has said it might have to seek bankruptcy protection to reorganize its debt.


Last week, the company announced a debt restructuring plan including an offer to trade new common shares for three series of senior notes. Six Flags also said it is asking holders of its outstanding notes to remove or change terms of its debt, including the conditions that mean it is in default.


The holders of Six Flags' preferred income redeemable shares, or PIERS, will be due more than $300 million when the shares mature on Aug. 15. Six Flags has said it does not expect to have enough cash to meet that obligation.


On Monday, Six Flags' common shares and PIERS were removed from the New York Stock Exchange and moved to the OTC Bulletin Board.

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  • 3 weeks later...

From the Times Picayune:


Six Flags blocked from removing equipment


(AP) — NEW ORLEANS - Six Flags Inc. on Tuesday was prohibited by a civil judge from removing any equipment, rides or other assets from its New Orleans theme park that's still shuttered following Hurricane Katrina.


The company must also sufficiently secure the property to bar against theft and refrain from collecting any hurricane-related insurance proceeds.


Civil District Judge Tiffany G. Chase signed a 15-day temporary restraining order at the request of City Attorney Penya Moses-Fields, who maintains that Six Flags is preventing redevelopment in eastern New Orleans by not reopening the park and robbing the city of sales tax revenue and jobs the park once generated. Katrina struck the city Aug. 29, 2005.


Six Flags spokeswoman Sandra Daniels said the company would have no comment.


The city wants Six Flags to make a series of payments in exchange for the termination of its lease. Six Flags, which is $4.2 billion in debt and considering filing for bankruptcy, has said it does not intend to reopen the park. The company has continued to make lease payments to the city.


A hearing will be held May 26.


The injunction comes after the city and Six Flags failed to work out a deal that would allow the company to terminate its lease. The city has been hoping to get the theme park operator to make a series of payments in exchange for the ability to back out of the lease. Six Flags has declined to do so, saying that the city already turned down such an offer.


In 2006, Six Flags offered to pay the city $10 million, donate 86 acres of land it owns in eastern New Orleans and share with the city any future insurance proceeds it collected on the park in excess of $75 million if the mayor's office would terminate its long-term lease.


The city rejected the deal, valued at about $14 million, because it would not have been enough to cover its HUD loan.


It's a little late to stop them from removing equipment when the 2 most valuable rides have already been relocated. :lol:


Also, they need to do a little fact checking...Six Flags is NOT $4.2 Billion in debt!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Six Flags, silenced by Katrina, creates uproar in New Orleans

By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY


May 26, 2009


NEW ORLEANS — The roller coasters are quiet and the Ferris wheel is frozen in midspin. Six Flags New Orleans, once teeming with shrieking tourists, sits empty and overgrown with weeds in the eastern part of the city — a hulking, rusting reminder of the devastation unleashed by Hurricane Katrina nearly four years ago.



Community activist Joel Waltzer stands in front of Six Flags New Orleans, shuttered since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Park operators and the city are sparring over the lease.


Six Flags officials say the park was losing money even before the 2005 floods, and they don't plan to reopen it.


City officials want the theme park operators to negotiate out of their lease so they can draw new developers to the site and reignite recovery in the flood-battered neighborhood. City attorneys recently filed an injunction against Six Flags, barring it from removing equipment from the park without first notifying the city.


Meanwhile, the park remains padlocked.


"It's a symbol really of how slow our recovery has been," says Joel Waltzer, an attorney and activist based in eastern New Orleans. "Passing by every day and looking at a dormant family park is tough to stomach."


The neighborhood surrounding Six Flags, about 12 miles east of downtown New Orleans, was severely damaged by the 2005 floods. Walls of water from the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and Lake Pontchartrain converged on the area.


Today, deserted strip malls, office buildings and apartment complexes still scar the landscape, as the neighborhood has struggled to keep pace with the rest of the city's recovery. But no reminder is as large as the Six Flags park.


Rehabbing the theme park property remains one of the most important — and biggest — projects in the city's post-Katrina recovery, Councilman Arnie Fielkow says.


"It is one of the most significant developments in the city of New Orleans," Fielkow says. "If done properly, it can serve as a catalyst for all of New Orleans East and all of New Orleans."


The park sustained an estimated $150 million in damage from the floods, says Jeff Speed, Six Flags' chief financial officer. So far, the park has received only about $35 million in insurance payments, he says. Park officials are in litigation to recover the rest.


The city owns the property and leases it to Six Flags for $1.4 million a year, Fielkow says.


In 2006, Six Flags officials made city leaders an offer: $10 million in cash to get out of the lease, along with 86 acres of additional land it owned in the region. The city refused, saying the cash wouldn't cover the costs of clearing the property and repaying a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan.


Now the deal is off the table and Six Flags, a New York-based company that runs 20 other parks in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, is considering bankruptcy to help alleviate $2.4 billion in debt, Speed says.


Six Flags is sympathetic to the plight of the neighborhood, Speed says. But the company cannot further invest in a park that was underperforming even before Katrina.


"Through no fault of our own, the property was destroyed and our insurance claims have been disrupted," he says. "We are not in a position to reinvest in that property."


City officials have been in talks with developers who are interested in new projects on the property, including a youth sports complex, a water park and another theme park, Fielkow says. But until the lease with Six Flags is resolved, those talks are worthless, he says.


"We can't really do anything until we get site control," he says. "Our objective right now is to get this resolved as best as we can for the city."


Given its bad location and design, industry leaders saw the demise of Six Flags New Orleans coming long before the floods, says Dennis Speigel, president of the Cincinnati consulting firm International Theme Park Services. City officials should have jumped at Six Flag's 2006 offer, he says.


"It was under water long before Katrina," Speigel says, referring to the park's financial straits. "When it closed it should've come as no surprise to the city or HUD or anyone else that it wouldn't reopen."


Besides the loss of jobs and revenue to the area, closing Six Flags has locked down a sprawling property that could be used in vital recovery projects, says Dent Hunter, president of the Oak Island Homeowners Association, which abuts the park.


Hunter, whose wife once worked at the park, says the shuttered park has become an all-too familiar symbol.


"It's another scar Katrina left us that won't heal," he says.

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  • 4 months later...

So finally, Six Flags will be done with the New Orleans property!


Article from WXTV:


Bankruptcy court approves settlement agreement


Associated Press - October 8, 2009 2:34 PM ET


NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has approved the lease termination and settlement agreement between Six Flags and New Orleans.


Thursday's agreement means that Six Flags will pay the city $3 million and 25% of any insurance the amusement company receives.


In June, Six Flags declared bankruptcy. Before that filing, meetings were held in May to discuss recovery of insurance proceeds and the future development of the park.


Also earlier this year, New Orleans filed a temporary restraining order prohibiting the company from removing any rides, attractions or assets from the park.


So, for a payment of $3 million they'll be done with that headache, and probably collect more in insurance money than they have to pay. Not bad considering the city wanted more than $25 million.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 9 years later...

The mayor of New Orleans is pushing to have what is left of the theme park demolished.




Mayor: Sights set on long-abandoned Six Flags to be demolished
“Right now, I have my sights on the Six Flags site, which we are now running numbers for demolition as I speak," said Cantrell during a press conference.


Author: Paul Dudley / Eyewitness News
Published: 10:37 PM CDT May 28, 2019
Updated: 6:30 AM CDT May 29, 2019



The old abandoned Grand Theater in New Orleans East is nearing its final days as city crews started demolition Tuesday on the structure that has been closed since Hurricane Katrina. 


Now, Mayor LaToya Cantrell says she has her eyes set another unruly eyescore in the East -- the old Six Flags and Jazzland location. 


“Right now, I have my sights on the Six Flags site, which we are now running numbers for demolition as I speak," said Cantrell during a press conference at the Grand Theater.


Before Katrina, many remember the Six Flags and Jazzland site as a place where memories were made. 


“It was something for the kids to do, and young adults and adults,” said William Peoples, who lives next to the Six Flags in the Oak Island neighborhood. “It was a very valuable asset to this community.”


No mayor has taken to the task of knocking down what remains of the abandoned park. 


Cantrell, however, says she wants to and so does District E City Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen, who says they are awaiting a study before moving forward. 


That study is due in 2-3 weeks, but Nguyen already has some ambitious aspirations. She wants the 200-acre property to be turned into a 'family entertainment district' complete with hotels, resorts, music and sports venues. 


Nguyen says it would be a great place for neighborhood kids to not only play but work.


“Many of our young people are looking for opportunities and I think having a family entertainment district will really capture and address a lot of the issues we have in our community,” said Nguyen.


From a Nickelodeon theme park to an outlet mall, Peoples has lived in New Orleans East long enough to remember all of the failed ideas for the space; but he still remains optimistic.


“We look forward to it being rehabilitated into something that is valuable to the community and to the city of New Orleans equally as well,” said Peoples.


Eyewitness News asked the mayor's office for details after Cantrell made the comments but they would not elaborate. There is still no official word on when the demolition of Six Flags will start.


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  • 1 year later...

Three finalists selected to redevelop Six Flags New Orleans.





Drew Brees, Demario Davis partnership is a top contender in Six Flags site redevelopment




New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said this week that he was finished playing football but wasn't finished with New Orleans.


On Tuesday, the city began to learn what he meant by that.


Brees is part of the development team selected as a finalist by Mayor LaToya Cantrell's administration to redevelop the derelict Six Flags site in New Orleans East, part of the city's latest effort to breathe life into the 227-acre park that has been abandoned for almost 16 years. 

After a selection committee scored six proposals based on developers' qualifications, financial resources and other factors, the highest scoring contender was a partnership between developer Kiernan West LLC of Colorado and S.H.I.E.L.D. 1, a foundation launched by Brees, Saints linebacker Demario Davis and Buffalo Bills cornerback Josh Norman.


The partnership said it planned to turn the former amusement park site into a series of educational centers, including an agriculture innovation area that helps young people learn about urban farming. To help subsidize those amenities it would also build a transportation and logistics hub on the property.


Second in the rankings was the local firm Situs Development Collective, which wants build a public waterpark, RV park, and collection of big-box retail stores, among other things.


And scoring third was the partnership of TKTMJ Inc. and Henry Consulting, two local firms who want to turn the site into an amusement park, a logistics hub, and a travel center that offers fuel, apparel and other items. 

All three developers will be asked to detail their plans further in the coming weeks. City officials hope to make a final choice by this spring or early summer. 

"This is a moment that a lot of us have been waiting for for a very long time," said city Economic Development Director Jeff Schwartz, a committee member. 


The amusement park has been abandoned since the Six Flags chain decided not to return to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, the site has been the victim of a series of false starts at redevelopment. 

Plans for a Nickelodeon Universe park on the property went south after the cable television titan ended a deal with its partner, Southern Star Amusements, in 2009. Months later, another plan for a sports complex at the site also sputtered. 


And while a high-end shopping center and boardwalk was on the horizon as late as 2013, that plan died after another developer announced plans for a competing outlet mall at the Riverwalk Marketplace in the Central Business District. 


Cantrell's administration vowed to prioritize the site, citing its potential as a catalyst for further development in New Orleans East. In 2019, a firm the city hired to study the best use for the park said that it would work best as a transportation and distribution hub, though that team ended up recommending an “education destination” that could focus on themes such as resiliency and climate change after talking with residents. 


Officials released a request for qualifications from developers this December, while stressing they weren’t wedded to any one idea. Six firms responded. 

The Kiernan West, Brees, Davis and Norman partnership was top of the pack. Their hybrid plan would feature non-profit and for-profit components that appear to take some cues from the city's original best-use study.


The nonprofit portion, managed by the S.H.I.E.L.D 1 group, would include a facility for urban farming and aquaponics; a “discovery lab” that would provide science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics programming for New Orleans students; a natural healing center; and a food cultural center that would house a lecture hall for culinary arts education. The site would also feature a restaurant. 

Future development phases could include a ghost kitchen that would deliver meals to people in need and a food truck park.


On the for-profit side, Kiernan would build a logistics hub at the site that would help subsidize the work of the nonprofit. That firm has a 25-year track record of building similar transportation hubs in cities across the country, it said in its proposal.


“I am excited about the ability to present this transformational proposal to the city,” Brees said in a prepared statement about the plan. “It is a vision that we have been working on for more than a year, actively looking for the right site and the right public/private Partnership to launch our non-profit concept. I believe this is it.”


Davis added that the proposal was "an incredible opportunity... to be able to help a lot of people and bring positive economic impact in areas that are often missed."


Schwartz, New Orleans Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montaño, Chief Financial Officer Norman White, Special Projects Manager Courtney Stuckwisch, and Office of Community Assets & Investment director Nicole Heyman gave that plan 439 out of a possible 500 points, the highest score of the six proposals. 


The Situs $1.85 billion plan, too, received praise. That plan would see a waterpark, RV park, and big-box retail stores at the 162-acre main site, which is off of Lake Forest Boulevard.


An outdoor ampitheater, hotel and athletic playing venues would be at the center of the site, while townhomes, single family homes and multi-story apartment towers would dot its upper end. 


Another 65-acre parcel located along Interstate 10, at the intersection of I-10 and Interstate 510 would feature a wave pool, ATV park and BMX bike park. A warehousing and sales facility would also open, and Cantrell's administration would be asked to construct a new police station and fire station nearby. 


Situs, managed by Wendell Armant, Gerald Billes and Shelly Wills, would work with a host of partners to get the project off the ground. Financing would be provided by BlueBell International, McClain Financial Group and the Hackett Group. 

That plan received 406 out of 500 points; it was critiqued, however, for its broad list of possible uses for the site. 


"I think we will be very well positioned to address the city's concerns as it relates to our proposal. I am fairly confident about that," Armant said in an interview. "As far as our proposal, there is probably nothing similar to it within a seven-hour drive time or a two-hour flight time." 


The last plan to make the cut came from TKTMJ Inc. and Henry Consulting, run by real estate developers Thomas and Michael Tubre and management consultant Troy Henry. 


Their proposal would see the site operate as an amusement and water park, a logistics and warehouse hub, and as a “super travel center” for visitors traveling to New Orleans. The site would also feature a 200-room hotel, plus cabins located along Lake Pontchartrain. 


The park would have a ropes and climbing course, a shooting and archery range, and airboat and canoe offerings, in addition to rides, arcades, bowling and golfing, according to the plan. 


That proposal received 376 of a possible 500 points. It was praised for its team’s development experience, but drew criticism for its lack of detail about the group’s financial wherewithal and for the seemingly disparate uses planned for the site. Michael Tubre said in an interview that his team was happy to have been considered.


The city will invite the selected developers to make presentations within a month, Schwartz said.


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