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SF Group To Buy Great America Amusement Park; 49ers Stadium Plan To Benefit

SANTA CLARA (KCBS) – The owners of the Great America theme park announced Monday that the park is being sold for $70 million to a San Francisco real estate firm in a deal that will resolve a lawsuit filed two years ago by the park’s operators against the city of Santa Clara.

The York family, who own the San Francisco 49ers, is contributing to the purchase, but just how much they are investing has yet to be disclosed, according to Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews.

The 49ers released a statement confirming the partnership with JMA.

“We are excited about this new opportunity and partnership with JMA,” the team said in a statement. “We believe this venture will enhance both Great America Park and the Santa Clara Stadium project.”

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Matthews called the deal a “win” for all parties involved.

He said the deal would move the stadium project forward, create additional development opportunities for the theme park, and facilitate a proposal by football Hall of Famer Joe Montana and his partner Eddie DeBartolo to create a luxury hotel on two parcels of city-owned land.

“This is an exciting development, because it resolves a lot of issues with ownership and parking and creates unbelievable synergy in our cultural convention center with this new stadium and family theme park,” Matthews said.

Two years ago, Cedar Fair, the Ohio-based company that owns Great America, opposed a measure to build the $987 million, 68,500-seat stadium and filed a lawsuit against Santa Clara over parking and other issues related to the construction of the stadium next to the theme park. The city owns the land the park sits on and has been leasing it to Cedar Fair for $5.3 million annually since 2006.

According to a statement by Cedar Fair, the company would use the proceeds from the sale to reduce its senior secured debt.

Dick Kinzel, Cedar Fair’s chief executive officer, said the decision to sell the park was not an easy one.

“This is a quality park that has terrific employees and serves a strong market,” Kinzel said in a statement. “That being said, as part of our regular comprehensive review of our portfolio of parks, we determined that divesting a smaller park like California’s Great America at an attractive market value created a compelling business opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.”

Matthews said the deal must be approved by the City Council in the next 45 to 60 days, after which JMA could begin operating the park.

KCBS Insider Phil Matier said the move is not a big surprise.

“It’s one of the big pieces in that puzzle down there. Santa Clara said that we want the 49ers, but we also want Great America,” Matier said. “Great America felt left out of the deal. There were a lot of legal threats going back and forth, especially over parking lots and who would have rights to them. This way, the 49ers can take over the whole show.”

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier:

JMA Ventures already owns a number of Bay Area properties including the Fairmont Heritage Plaza at Ghirardelli Square and Waterbar and EPIC Roasthouse restaurants on the Embarcadero in San Francisco.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • Billy D

    I am very curious to see how this all pans out. In the long run, I think I see a bright future for the park since there is no lawsuit and political garbage to get in the way of the park’s plans…and since the new owner does not have to manage a large handful of parks, perhaps CGA can get the love it’s been crying for since Paramount started ripping rides out.

    • CGA employee

      actually paramount added rides and was great at themeing into the movies. its cedar fair that got greedy and let everything go to hell

  • AJ Buttacavoli

    The fact that San Francisco will lose its team is simply another example of how badly the city is managed.

  • 49ers Show Off Plans For $937 Million Santa Clara Stadium « CBS San Francisco

    […] York family is partnering with local real estate firm JMA Ventures to buy the Great America theme park that had opposed the 49ers’ new stadium […]

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