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Ardent to shrink Dreamworld footprint

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From The Australian Financial Review:

Quote

Ardent to shrink Dreamworld footprint, develop land

Michael Bleby
Senior Reporter

Ardent Leisure will make more space available for development by shrinking Dreamworld's footprint as it makes plans for surplus land adjacent to the iconic Gold Coast theme park.

Dreamworld owner Ardent, which on Friday said it would invest about $50 million in new rides and attractions at its Australian theme parks over the next five years, will focus on "fewer but better rides" and reduce the park's overall footprint, said Ardent's theme parks head John Osborne.

While the company has not yet completed a masterplan for the 57-hectare  Coomera site on the M1 highway that houses Dreamworld and Ardent's White Water World attractions, it was already open to talking to "potential partners" about future development of the unused near-half portion, said Mr Osborne, the former chief executive of ASX-listed Lantern Hotel Group.

Developing surplus land could give Ardent funds to continue its overhaul of the troubled theme park and company, which chairman Gary Weiss on Friday said had completed a "transitional" year, as its annual net loss narrowed to $60.9 million in the year to June from $90.7 million.

"In my experience turnarounds often take longer to achieve, cost more money and are often more difficult to achieve than initially [expected] as they present," Dr Weiss said.

"I think Ardent is turning out very much in that category."

The shares, which have lost 34 per cent of their value over the past year, gained less than half a per cent on Friday to close at $1.19.

The Dreamworld strategy is to boost a Gold Coast theme parks sector that has seen attendance fall by about 1.6-million people - equating to $130 million in lost revenue - since 2016, the year of a fatal 2016 accident that killed four people.

That means new rides, such as the delayed Sky Voyager ride that only opened on Friday, and a new 1.2 km-long roller coaster it said would be built by German company MACK Rides.

But how the company opts to develop surplus land - either its own real estate or in combination with an adjacent vacant 47 hectares abutting Westfield Coomera, owned by the Queensland Investment Corporation - will also be crucial to the future prosperity of the theme parks.

One possible use is a hotel. The provision of hotel facilities could allow a revamped Dreamworld to serve the conference and business markets, long a staple for facilities such as Disneyland.

A spokesman for QIC Global Real Estate said the state-owned institution was willing to consider a tie-up with Dreamworld.

"We are open to exploring ways to collaborate with our neighbours, in alignment with the strategic direction of our master-planning work, and we’re currently working with Dreamworld to ensure infrastructure, such as road networks, complements the long-term vision of both owners for the entire precinct," he said.

Veteran Queensland developer and Rich Lister Kevin Seymour, with a 4.7 per cent stake, is Ardent's fourth-largest shareholder.

"I see tremendous potential for the land not required for theme park purposes for a multitude of uses that would be well sought after by retailers and/or developers," Mr Seymour told The Australian Financial Review.

 

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"One possible use is a hotel. The provision of hotel facilities could allow a revamped Dreamworld to serve the conference and business markets, long a staple for facilities such as Disneyland."

 

DW is no Disney and who in there right mind would want to holiday at Coomera.

 

 

With DW shrinkage the train will shrink too.😊

smalltrains-20.thumb.jpg.de19373459807571568db7ecb9e5963a.jpg

 

All jokes aside I fully expect DW to shorten the train track layout in the future.

Edited by Skeeta

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2 hours ago, Skeeta said:

All jokes aside I fully expect DW to shorten the train track layout in the future.

How though? the grade is too steep to shorten from rocky hollow to central - that's why it does the blue lagoon loop. You'd have to regrade half the track to cut that loop out, and Dreamworld have already shown they don't care enough about the railway to invest in it.

Plus, the sheds are spurred off that loop too - where else could you possibly shorten it?

12 minutes ago, Brad2912 said:

Dreamworld would have plenty of attraction as a conference and meeting venue if linked to a hotel. I don’t necessarily think it’s the best utilisation of the land, but I have no doubt there would be a market for it 

I think with the conference and event garage space, it could potentially be a great conference \ team building venue if coupled with the right facilities. The trouble is - facilities on the northern side of the park make it a long trek to ocean parade \ white water world for the kind of 'resort' facilities those delegates would be looking for...

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It's been a long time since I've been there, but would be turning left prior to rocky hollow station, along the edge of Motocoaster, through (the assumed to be removed TOT2 uprights) then around to Main Street station be possible? 

The photo below is from near the shed, which is higher than the railway from memory, so seems possible to me. Relocate the train shed into the TOT2 tunnel location. 

G1289.jpg

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Location wise it is possible but the grade is too steep, they’d have to do some serious grading work to get it around Tower. Ontop of that the curve to go around tower would be quite significant.

 Would they? Depends, I guess anything is possible. Should they? I don’t think so, that leg of track provides a decent ride even in the tractor.

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2 minutes ago, Skeeta said:

What happens to the train if DW repurposed the land it runs on and the track can't be shortened? 

 

The abomination meets its fate and surplus rail and rollingstock become available for the 2ft gauge societies to try and acquire. 

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Noted on my last 2 visits the extreme drop in speed required these days as the train moves from just past the train shed and old BB amphitheatre area through to going under the walkway, it slows to literally like snails pace for about 100-150m. 

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When I visited last time I was surprised at how slow the Train ride is nowadays. It is certainly much slower than ever before.

Regarding selling of land etc, I think the old Thunderbolt site would be an ideal spot for proposed Hotel/convention Centre. I hope they keep DW within the existing envelope of the train, keeping all that Amphitheatre/Blue Lagoon space for future Theme Park development.

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12 hours ago, red dragin said:

It's been a long time since I've been there, but would be turning left prior to rocky hollow station, along the edge of Motocoaster, through (the assumed to be removed TOT2 uprights) then around to Main Street station be possible? 

The photo below is from near the shed, which is higher than the railway from memory, so seems possible to me. Relocate the train shed into the TOT2 tunnel location. 

G1289.jpg

It would be possible to change the grade and curve but with the new coaster going here that won't be happening. You'd need to start the regrade all the way back at corroboree station just to ensure the train wouldn't stall on the curve. I know the right-hand curve after the shed is tight and yes it does go up a grade but that section is not as steep because you've already have gone through the steep section, from the back of the shed to the points at the front.

Reason the train and make it into the shed where the grade is higher is due to the fact the train is unloaded. I also noted on a visit the train ran slow in several sections. This might be due to the imposter having weight issues, the load is not evenly distributed from the main driving wheels to the front wheels (pony wheels, yes it is a real name).

Going back to the coaster, it means if you change the grade for the train you gotta change the height for the coaster.

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Old mate John Longhurst was going to use the northern land beyond the creek for a shopping centre, I can't see why Ardent working with QIC to develop the completely bonkers amount of excess land will be any different.

My personal issue will be if they try to build town-houses or do something that infringes on existing land that's actually used by Dreamworld past or present. I've thrown a line on the satellite map but even without the obvious white marker, when you look online the line is practically already there:

1093074595_Screenshot2019-08-2710_05_18.thumb.jpg.8c5ab949c04c24515c9cf4731f622c33.jpg

If we're talking long term (next two decades) Corroboree will probably expand onto the island, White Water World will fill out the Thunderbolt site, Ocean Parade will be expanded - from there, the only land that's left is the Ampitheatre / Blue Lagoon site for major development into something entirely new. That's it.

If you're a regional US/Japanese park, that's incredibly limiting if you want to have a comparable attraction line-up with two or more staple coasters and large family attractions. However, if you migrated all the wildlife into a third gate a little north, then you've got a huge amount of land to play with again.

TLDR: North of the white line? Go nuts, but anything south of the white line wouldn't be ideal for long term growth without major restructuring.

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I dont see DW ever running out of land, and if they do they can put in multi level parking. The park has been renewing attractions for years and hasn't really had a problem with the number standing (Im not talking about ride closures for maintenance btw)

They've never built out the island, or re-used the Blue Lagoon site either. If you wanted to expand WWW the little tip of the car park next to Hydrocoaster, the old thunderbolt site, and the areas under the footprint of Cyclone could all accomodate ample numbers of slides for the foorseeable future.

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Although the title of the article sounds bad it is really not bad. If they sell or lease or whatever some of that land the theme park won't be affected today. Yes, some future expansion could be. But if it also helps make some money then it should be done. I think a hotel with a conference centre would work perfectly. At least I can see that happening here long before the other mob can do it.

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