Friday, May 28, 2010

Kentucky Fair Board Approves Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company

The Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company (KKRC), a Kentucky limited liability company under the leadership of majority member and sole investor, Edward J. Hart, has entered into an exclusive agreement with the Kentucky State Fair Board for the purpose of creating a redevelopment plan and negotiating a lease to operate a theme park on the former Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom property.

A successful redevelopment of the Kentucky Kingdom property as family entertainment is important to the region for jobs and economic development. It directly and indirectly benefits local contractors and vendors, and for twenty years has been a significant part of Louisville’s tourism and hospitality industry.

Kentucky Kingdom adds to the quality of life of the region and its closing has cost both city and state government substantial tax dollars as Kentucky families travel out of state to visit major theme or water parks and regional tourists fail to choose Louisville as a travel destination. According to Louisville Convention & Visitor Bureau President Jim Wood, more than 10,000 room nights per year will go unsold due to the park’s closure. In addition, nearly 100 full time jobs and nearly 1,000 seasonal jobs have been lost.

The KKRC has recruited a proven redevelopment and operations team which has succeeded in turning around two previously failed theme parks: Magic Springs in Hot Springs, Arkansas and the original Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky. After operating for 17 years, the Magic Springs theme park closed in 1995. Mr. Hart and his development team reopened it in 2000 and it remains open today. The original Kentucky Kingdom closed in 1987 after only one season of operation and Mr. Hart’s team reopened that facility in 1990 and successfully operated it until it was sold in 1997.

As part of its due diligence, the KKRC has conducted a thorough review of the Kentucky Kingdom property and amenities toward determining a strategic plan for positioning the park so that it is compatible with current market trends and local community needs.

Preliminary plans call for a reconfiguration of the property’s use including consolidation of existing and new rides as well as an expansion of the existing water park.

The KKRC will continue to develop its plan to provide an exciting, safe, well managed and well funded family oriented attraction complimentary to the activities and events that routinely occupy the Kentucky Exposition Center. A reasonable timetable and estimated costs will be determined as the plan is finalized.

KKRC has agreed to provide up to $3 million for the exclusive right to finalize a lease agreement satisfactory to both KKRC and the Kentucky State Fair Board.

In addition, KKRC’s redevelopment plans are contingent upon the creation of a public-private partnership with local and/or state agencies in order to provide the investment dollars necessary to substantially renew and improve the park to achieve the positive economic impact that the park is capable of providing for the region.

The KKRC looks forward to pursuing a successful redevelopment plan with the Fair Board and, assuming the Fair Board finds it acceptable, to finalizing the terms and conditions of a lease agreement. Recognizing that a reasonable timetable is important, the KKRC is prepared to devote its full attention and energy to the successful redevelopment of the Kentucky Kingdom property.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ANT joins FUNA global technology powerhouse

Emden, Germany, 18 May 2010 -- FUNA International Group (FUNA), a global design, engineering, integration and consulting firm for maritime and land-based projects, announced that Advanced New Technologies Ltd (ANT) a leading UK-based superyacht integration company, has joined the FUNA International Group of companies. The combination provides a greater capacity to deliver specialized consulting, design, engineering, fabrication, installation, programming, training, commissioning and after sales support to clients in the superyacht, high-end residential and cruise ship markets across the globe.

FUNA and ANT foresee that both companies’ clients will benefit from the increased purchasing power and greater resources, including significant engineering and CAD capabilities and a wider global footprint. The combined resources will now include over 200 highly trained staff members operating out of 10 offices located in 8 countries throughout Europe and North America.

“FUNA is delighted to have ANT join our group as it will enable us to expand and develop even further globally,” said Rex Stull, President FUNA International. “We pride ourselves on delivering the very best service and technology to our customers. Having a leading superyacht integrator such as ANT onboard with its long history of successful and high profile projects is a significant addition to our skill set.”

“The decision to come together was born from both ANT and FUNA recognising the need for it,” comments Steve Puckering, CEO, ANT. “This joint approach makes us capable of integrating and delivering an expanded array of technologies to the cruise ship and superyacht industries, ranging from West End and Broadway-caliber theatre installations, to the most modern entertainment, lighting, fire detection and communications systems available.”

Both companies have recently been awarded a number of significant contracts across their range of services including some significant new-build and refit projects which will now directly benefit from this joining of forces. Many of these contracts are for repeat customers and involve the largest and most complex vessels in both the cruise ship and superyacht arenas.

Themed Entertainment Association: Nominations for 17th Annual Thea Awards Due July 8

Have you worked on a great project that has or will open to the public between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2010? Or do you know of an outstanding attraction, technology or guest experience that deserves industry recognition? In either case, you are invited to nominate such outstanding projects for consideration by the Thea Awards Nominating Committee. TEA and the Thea Awards Nominating Committee depend on members of the visitor attractions industry to nominate outstanding projects, technologies and people for recognition.

Thea Award information and rules for the 17th Annual Thea Awards can be downloaded at Deadline for nominations: July 8.

The prestigious Thea Awards were created in 1994 by TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) to recognize and honor excellence in the creation of outstanding visitor experiences, attractions, exhibits and places. Truly international in their recognition of outstanding productions, the Thea Awards focus international attention on innovation within the Themed Entertainment and Experience Design Industry, and to recognize and honor excellence all up and down the chain of creative production. The Theas honor the vision and dedication of the project owner while bestowing and recording credits for the work of the designers, technicians, vendors and suppliers who realize the project.

After review and approval by the Thea Awards Committee and the TEA board of directors, TEA will announce the slate of recipients for the 17th Annual Thea Awards in November 2010. The awards will be officially presented at the Thea Awards Gala in March 2011.