Schlitterbahn delays opening; sale pending
Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi has delayed its opening this season to May 26 — Memorial Day weekend — due to “anticipated ownership changes,” according to a statement from the company. Originally, opening day was planned for April 28.
“This will allow the park to follow its extensive annual inspection process, including an independent third-party inspection by an engineer,” said Winter Prosapio in a statement. Prosapio is director of communications and government relations for Schlitterbahn, which also owns parks in New Braunfels, South Padre Island, Galveston, and Kansas City, Kansas. None of the other parks are affected by the financial problems of the Corpus Christi site, according to the company spokesperson.
The Corpus Christi water park is being sold through Keen-Summit Capital Partners, a New York City brokerage firm, as part of court-ordered bankruptcy proceedings. Buyers can bid on any or all of the park, which includes a golf course, a restaurant, bars, and a hotel with meeting space. No asking price has been listed, and so far no one is talking about who the buyers may be.
The much-anticipated water park has been plagued with trouble since it broke ground in 2013. “Soft” openings were cancelled several times until an entire season was missed. Construction ground to a halt in early 2015 when contractors sued for unpaid bills.
Construction and opening day setbacks put a $117 million incentive agreement with the city of Corpus Christi at risk, but the company was granted a waiver, and the sounds of saws and hammers resumed.
The park finally opened to the public in spring 2016 with all 17 rides complete. It opened for Spring Break that year but with only five attractions running.
“We tripled the size of the park and the resort because it became clear that there was a greater demand for more room,” marketing and public relations director Amy Gazin told Corpus Christi Business News in a story dated April 27, 2016. “That’s when the money humps came in. Now, we have this great park. Pushing back the grand opening was definitely the right decision.”
Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi was forced into bankruptcy after defaulting on a $28 million loan from IBC Bank. Acreage around the park, which was part of a partnership to create a San Antonio River Walk-type development, was foreclosed on in December 2017. The development was a partnership between water park owners Jeff and Greg Henry, who are brothers, and Padre Island developer Paul Schexnailder. Upper Padre Island Partners defaulted on an $18 million loan from Axys Capital Credit. Axys purchased the property at auction for $9 million.
The water park portion dodged the auction block when a bankruptcy trustee was appointed earlier this year. The bankruptcy court hired Keen-Summit Capital Partners to conduct the sale.
As for the delayed opening, groups and individuals who have purchased tickets in advance for days between April 28 and May 26 can either go to another Schlitterbahn park instead or schedule dates later in the season, Prosapio said.
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