11-07-2007, 06:41 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Mos Eisley, TA 85202
Rock 'n' roll theme park proposed for Eloy
A Phoenix-based investment team said today it wants to build a 240-acre rock 'n' roll theme park in Pinal County intended to rival Orlando's Disney World complex and the Busch Gardens amusement parks across the country.
The $800 million project, which is proposed to include a luxury hotel and retail space, would be known as Decades Music Theme Park. One of the consultants for the project was a project manager of Disney's Epcot Center.
Key state lawmakers seem intrigued by the proposal, said Kevin DeMenna, a lobbyist who is pushing for legislation that would help provide bond funding for the park.
Jason Rose, another lobbyist working for the project, declined to identify the private investors who intend to help support Decades.
The park would be located in Eloy, with roller coasters and other rock-themed rides divided into sections associated with music through the decades, starting in the 1950s.
With the state's usual tourism base and with residents of Phoenix and Tucson nearby, Decades could attract at least 5.4 million visitors annually, according to Peter Alexander, the Epcot project manager and a consultant who worked on other parks, including Disneyland and the Six Flags chain.
Eloy is roughly 65 miles from downtown Phoenix and 60 miles from downtown Tucson.
"It's the only large metropolitan market . . . that doesn't have a theme park," Alexander said of the Phoenix area. "Obviously, it's the perception that it's too hot here."
But the heat index in the area averages 93 degrees in July compared with 92 in Orlando, Fla., home to Disney World, Alexander said. And Orlando was a small, sleepy town before the park opened there, he added.
Arizona's theme-park laws would have to be rewritten to allow Pinal County to establish a locally controlled district with bonding authority, DeMenna said.
If approved, it would allow the park's builders access to a $1 billion state fund for theme park construction, he said. Sales taxes that could reach 9 percent at the park would help repay the project's construction costs.
Martin West, the creative director of Decades, said he first envisioned a rock-themed amusement park more than a decade ago.
He and Alexander publicly discussed the proposed theme park a day after Mesa voters easily approved a land sale that helps clear the way for Waveyard, a water-sports resort planned for that city.
Next spring, Myrtle Beach, S.C., expects to open Hard Rock Park, a 140-acre, $400 million rock 'n' roll theme park after years of planning and construction.
Like the Decades plan, that park is divided into different sections based on genres of music. Decades is positioned as the West Coast counterbalance to that rock-themed park, which is owned by another investment group.
Decades' design plans include an 850-room luxury hotel on the park's grounds as well as at least 120,000 square feet of retail space.
West envisions an amphitheater similar to the former Compton Terrace in Phoenix and a 55,000-seat indoor concert hall.
Attractions could include an MTV logo in the center of the park intended to resemble the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and busts of rock legends reminiscent of Mount Rushmore.
Rose said licensing agreements with the various musical artists are among the details that need to be worked out if the state provides help with the legislation.
Woot... more traffic between me and my parents
... on the bright side, if I ever have kids, it could be fun...
What say you, SWIC?