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Gilroy Gardens Seeks New Management/Development Partner

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Gilroy Gardens, managed by Cedar Fair for several decades, is seeking a new Development Partner to expand and utilize hundreds of aditional undeveloped acres with bike trails and other adventure and recreational uses.

This could signal the impending end of Cedar Fair's management contract:


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I can't tell exactly from the article, but it might just be they sell off part of the land to a different developer/manager. From what I read,


"There is an additional approximately 100 acres of unused or underutilized space at the base of a sizable hillside property. The remainder of the property comprises hillside open space that the city desires wants to develop for recreational and outdoor activities including down-hill biking, horseback riding, hiking, ziplining, among other uses."

It seems more like while Cedar Fair is operating the 50 acres of park, the city is interested in developing some of the additional land. It could be the end of Cedar Fair management, or I could see it more just being an additional project separate from Cedar Fair's management developed by someone else.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The deadline for responsive proposals to the City of Gilroy for development opportunities upon excess land at Gilroy Gardens had been extend approximately three weeks, until February 12th.  

The proposal deadline extension suggested the City might have been engaged in chasing a particular developer, or developer group, negotiating an answer and submission to the Request for Proposal.

The City of Gilroy received one responsive proposal from Imagine That Design and Production, LLC.  Due to pandemic related city office closures it is possible other proposals may have been submitted.  Once the mail has been checked and vetted Wednesday any additional submissions will be recorded.  It is not expected other responsive proposals were likely received.

Jimmy Forbis, Gilroy City Administrator, has confirmed the receipt of the response from Imagine That Design and Production, LLC.  In addition, Gilroy has removed the RFP from its website as the opportunity to respond has officially closed. 

As more details emerge I plan to report them here. 

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15 minutes ago, SonofBaconator said:

How bad does this whole thing hurt Cedar Fair?

From the sounds of it, Gilroy Gardens isn't exactly a huge profit source for its ownership.  It's also rather low attendance at ~450k/yr (source).  Paramount (now Cedar Fair) was brought in to manage it, likely due to ownership of nearby California's Great America (~45 min, at least without infamous CA traffic), once the original owners realized how difficult it was to (profitably) run the park.

Should the park be closed or Cedar Fair no longer hold the management contract, I don't imagine it would be a terribly significant loss to the company.

Now, if the city and its development partners were to build the larger site up into a competitor to California's Great America, which Cedar Fair is already trying to grow (in size and revenue/profit), that could be an issue.  I couldn't begin to speculate on the ability of the Bay Area to host two mid+ size parks.

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Without spending hours reading the two proposals, and what the city is asking for, it seems they are radically different.  Select Contracts seemed to offer specifics, from a development plan and specifics to city requests.  Imagine That! seemed flashy and exciting, with some data and flashy "jazz" but no specifics on land use.

It sounds to me that the city wants to develop an adventure park, not a theme park like CGA or DK.  They want to utilize the land to get more visitors in a natural setting like zip lines, etc.  I think, in my brief glance, that Select Contracts nailed it.  Imagine That! spent more time promoting themselves.  

Depending on what direction the city goes, it could be an opportunity for CF to expand the relationship by running the new development, sticking to running the theme park, or leaving entirely.  As proven by CGA, a municipality running a theme park doesn't work too well.  There are few operators besides the major players that can do so sucessfully.

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