Six Flags sells parks

 Uncategorized
Jan 252007
 
Authors: Jen Cintora

Though Six Flags Inc. sold Elitch Gardens last week as part of a $315 million package to a Florida company, officials said the shift won’t be visible to the park’s visitors.

The sale fit into Six Flags’ strategy to reduce company debt and “enhance operational and financial flexibility,” a statement from the company said.

A CSU student who works at the park said she has no reason to believe anything will be different come March, when the park reopens from its winter hiatus.

“I still received the notice offering former employees to reapply and I’ll probably be returning for the 2007 season,” said Christina Fontana, a freshman theatre major who worked last year at the park as an entertainment engineer.

The deal will be set by March. Season passes purchased for Six Flags’ locations will be honored throughout the 2007 season.

PARC 7F-Operations Corp., based in Jacksonville, Fla., bought the parks but are set to immediately sell them to CNL Income Properties Inc., a Florida investment trust, a statement from Six Flags Inc. said.

“We’re pleased with the sale price for this portfolio of parks, particularly since we were able to retain the Magic Mountain parks,” said Mark Shapiro, Six Flags President and CEO.

PARC 7F-Operations Corp. did not return phone calls made this week.

“Every time I went to Elitch’s, there was always something for everyone,” said Josh Betz, a sophomore civil engineering major said. “I just hope they don’t change it too much. It should be a place where everyone can have a good time and feel welcome.”

Elitch Gardens is one of two locations in the sale package to bear the Six Flags name. Other theme parks sold include SplashTown in Houston; Frontier City and the White Water Bay water park in Oklahoma City; Waterworld USA in Concord, Calif.; and Wild Waves and Enchanted Village in Seattle.

Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor Water Park, both located in Valencia, Calif., were not sold and are expected to operate as normal.

Six Flags Inc. bought Elitch Gardens in 1998. The park had an estimated 1.2 million visitors in 2006.

Founded in 1961, Six Flags, Inc. has since become the world’s largest regional theme park company.

Staff writer Jen Cintora can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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