Here’s what closing Great America will cost Santa Clara

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Santa Clara expects significant losses of more than half a million dollars in revenue each year when Greater America closes for the next decade.

News last week of the amusement park’s $310 million sale to San Francisco-based real estate firm Prologis shocked Silicon Valley. This follows Santa Clara already facing a revenue crisis with a deficit of nearly $20 million.

Now city leaders are discussing what could be developed on the 112-acre site and the financial impacts of losing a key entertainment landmark.

Santa Clara spokesman Lon Peterson told the San Jose Spotlight the city receives about $550,000 in annual revenue from California’s Greater America, which includes property, sales and transient occupancy tax. . He said it’s unclear how much revenue will actually be lost.

“The city doesn’t know what will replace Great America, so there’s no way to know the impact or the benefits without knowing when they’re leaving,” he said, adding that Cedar Fair Entertainment Company had a multi-year lease.

If Prologis wants to change the current designation of the site, it will need the approval of the Municipal Council. The plot is zoned for mixed industrial and entertainment use, housing restaurants or a shopping centre, and should be rezoned if another use such as housing is proposed.

Council member Suds Jain said he was in favor of the latter due to housing shortages, but the decision will be up to Prologis.

“It’s a cultural loss for the city. It’s where a lot of our kids get their first work experience,” Jain told San José Spotlight. “It’s been a great asset to the city and really put Santa Clara on the map. I grew up in Davis and we came to Santa Clara to watch Great America – it drew people from all over Northern California.

The park, originally owned by the Marriott Corporation, opened in 1976 in tandem with a sister park in Illinois and has become a major draw for tourists in Santa Clara. It has 51 rides, ranging from water slides to high-speed roller coasters.

In a statement, Mayor Lisa Gillmor said she viewed his loss as “devastating” for the city and the Bay Area. Gillmor did not respond to further requests for comment.

Council member Anthony Becker said he heard “negative and very heartbreaking” comments from residents lamenting the park’s closure.

“I mean, it’s basically my childhood and everybody’s childhood. It’s like we’re erased,” he told San Jose Spotlight.

Becker fears that the lost revenue could extend beyond park entry fees. The closure will impact the loss of entertainment groups and hotel and restaurant bookings. He said the city needs to focus on other opportunities to generate revenue. The board and staff are negotiating a business license tax update with the Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce, and it is pushing for a cannabis sales tax.

“I think maybe if we had made better choices a few years ago, maybe (the park) would have been better marketed and (seen) more visitors. The pandemic has caused a lot of problems. But I think it’s going to be a pretty big loss,” he said.

At the nearby Residence Inn by Marriott, office manager James Williams said local Marriott hotels primarily receive bookings from guests visiting Silicon Valley on business. But Great America’s closure will affect weekend bookings, he said.

“We have people who come here specifically for Greater America,” he told San José Spotlight. “We won’t see a huge drop in business, but it will definitely impact us to some degree. It’s like, what’s next, Disneyland? »

Contact Natalie Hanson at [email protected] or @nhanson_reports on Twitter.

Journalist Tran Nguyen contributed to this report.

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