9-13-05 - Six Flags Inc. is closing its Six Flags AstroWorld theme park at the end of the year and is looking for a buyer for the 109-acre site that sits near Reliant Park, Houston's entertainment district and Texas Medical Center.
The theme park company said it expects the property will yield a good price and the money from the sale of the 37-year-old park would be used to reduce debt and for general corporate purposes. The sale must be approved by Six Flags' bank lenders.
Kieran Burke, chairman and CEO of Six Flags, said the company decided the best way to enhance shareholder value was to sell the theme park because of the significant increase in real estate values in the Houston market.
"While we continually review our properties in order to determine the best allocation of resources, it is important to note that a unique set of circumstances applies to the AstroWorld property and this action should not be considered indicative of our intentions for any of our other parks," Burke said in a release.
Six Flags said it considered the park's performance in the past several years as well as issues over offsite parking rights related to Reliant Stadium and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
The closing will affect 119 permanent jobs, but Six Flags said a number of those people may be offered jobs at other Six Flags sites. The park also hires 1,500 people for seasonal jobs. Those will not be affected for the remainder of the 2005 season.
The company plans to move some of its equipment from AstroWorld to the Six Flags SplashTown water park in Houston.
"We had a great run with AstroWorld and have been proud to serve as a family entertainment venue in the community for so many years," Burke said.