The company behind failed plans for a Nickelodeon theme park has made a $12.5 million offer to buy the former Six Flags New Orleans site.
Southern Star Amusement Inc. is aiming to purchase the site from the current owners, the City of New Orleans. The company claims it has secured financial backing for the move, despite a licensing deal with Nickelodeon falling through last week.
However, a city spokeswoman Ceeon Quiett is reported to have said she was not aware of the offer, while a former Southern Star board member has dismissed the offer as a "pipe dream". David Crais said of Southern Star CEO Danny Rogers "he doesn't have $12.5 million and the city's not a willing seller".
Rogers recently failed to raise the much smaller sum - half a million dollars - needed to secure a $100 million government bond to fund redevelopment of the park. This, coupled with Nickelodeon's withdrawal from the project, may have damaged Southern Star's credibility as a potential buyer in the eyes of the New Orleans authorities.
For his part, Rogers is defiant. "We don’t want to play this game anymore. If they want the park redeveloped, we want them to sell us the land and everything that is on it," he is reported to have said. Rogers also claimed to have lined sites up in other areas should the New Orleans deal fail to materialize. However, he failed to reveal any new financial backers.
Six Flags New Orleans closed follow Hurricanne Katrina in August 2005, and the site has been out of use ever since. In October, former operator Six Flags reached an agreement with the City of New Orleans to terminate the remainder of its lease for the site. At that stage, it seemed Southern Star was well placed to take on the site, having secured a licensing deal with Nickelodeon.
However, Nickelodeon backed out of the deal blaming Southern Star for failing to meet its obligations. It has since said that it would still consider a theme project on the site if another developer comes forward.