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Financial impact of Coronavirus puts new rides at Gold Coast theme parks on hold
The development of two major new rollercoasters that were due to open later this year at Sea World and Dreamworld on the Gold Coast appear to be in doubt as a result of the financial impact of Coronavirus.
With both parks closed since late March and having no realistic date for a resumption of full operations, reports suggest that with both Ardent Leisure and Village Roadshow Theme Parks freezing all non-essential capital expenditure neither new ride looks likely to go ahead on the originally scheduled timeline
Sea World’s new Leviathan ride was announced in May 2019 as part of The New Atlantis, a new major area at the Main Beach attraction.
The $50 million themed area has already faced setbacks with the area’s Vortex missing its December 2019 targeted opening. Currently under construction, an Easter opening had been suggested prior to the theme park’s closure.
Sea World owner Village Roadshow, impacted by the business halt across all aspects of its business - that includes theme parks, cinemas and film distribution - announced in March that it would freeze all non-essential uncommitted capital expenditure.
Writing on the Parkz website, Richard Wilson advised “though Village have not formally announced the rollercoaster is on hold, this halt on capital ostensibly rules out construction commencing in the near future on the Leviathan.
“Though deposits and other costs have likely been paid to the ride's manufacturer Martin & Vleminckx and other parties, considerable expense is still to come in the form of physical construction of the rollercoaster.
“Wooden coasters are assembled on-site from raw lumber; it is only unique components such as trains, lifts, brakes and control systems that are fabricated offshore in advance.”
Dreamworld’s, as yet-unnamed, new roller coaster, first announced in August 2019, had also been due to open in late 2020.
Dreamworld owners Ardent Leisure announced on 13th March, with its entire chain of Main Event entertainment centres closed in the USA, that they were deferring non-essential capital investment.
Subsequently, the Gold Coast Bulletin confirmed that the rollercoaster and other planned attractions are now on hold.
Commenting on this, Wilson explained “there's no indication that these projects won't go ahead down the track once the global impact and ongoing restrictions relating to coronavirus ease. Both are vital investment in the future of the Gold Coast theme parks however there is little sense in committing to vast capital expenditure at a time where it will have no measurable impact and both Village Roadshow and Ardent Leisure face financial challenges that will put both companies in uncertain territory for months and years to come.”
Images: Dreamworld's planned new rollercoaster (top) and Sea World's planned Leviathan wooden rollercoaster (below).
12th May 2020 - Village Roadshow Chief Executive calls for JobKeeper extension as Queensland Government’s Coronavirus easing roadmap suggests reopening of theme parks, entertainment venues and stadiums in June
6th April 2020 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks backs staff during lockdown
25th February 2020 - Ardent Leisure shares fall after critical Coroner’s report into Dreamworld tragedy
25th February 2020 - Ardent Leisure faces possible prosecution over 2016 ride deaths
24th January 2020 - Private equity group BGH Capital submits rival bid for Village Roadshow
20th December 2019 - Private equity firm makes $750 million offer for Village Roadshow
11th September 2019 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks reveal schedule for opening of new Sea World attractions
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