Fair board approves lease for Kentucky Kingdom
Kentucky Press News Service
Approval of a new lease agreement today by the
Kentucky State Fair Board moves the reopening of Kentucky Kingdom to as early as spring 2014. The investors, Kentucky Kingdom LLLP, now must secure the final private loans – worth $25 million - before the park can open, according to a news release from the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
The investors have agreed to initially invest $45 million in the park, which has been closed since 2009.
“This agreement is great news for the families who will visit Kentucky Kingdom and will certainly be a shot in the arm for local and regional tourism,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “This
lease will also mean hundreds of jobs as well as much-needed income for the Fair Board. We are pleased that we were able to reach a mutually agreeable lease so the park can reopen as
quickly as possible.”
The Fair Board and Kentucky Kingdom investors agreed to a 50-year lease after the state issued
a request last year seeking proposals to reopen the park. Kentucky Kingdom LLLP was the only
entity to submit a proposal. The lease includes a provision that will allow for the expansion of
the water park at Kentucky Kingdom. The state’s Finance and Administration Cabinet
negotiated the lease.
“This lease agreement is a fair deal for both our state taxpayers and for the investors seeking to
operate the park,” said board chairman Ron Carmicle. “The lease protects taxpayers from
shouldering private debt and ensures that the park operators have every opportunity to succeed.
As soon as the private financing is finalized, the countdown begins to a reopened and
reinvigorated tourist attraction.”
The rental income starts at $475,000 the first year for the Fair Board and will increase by
$50,000 a year for the first 15 years of the agreement.
Kentucky Kingdom is required to spend $13 million in 2013 and 2014 to get the park open. It
must spend another $7 million on the park through the 2016 season. After 2017, it must spend at
least $1 million annually on the park.
Kentucky Kingdom will seek state tourism development incentives through the Kentucky
Tourism Development Finance Authority.
Details of the lease agreement are below.
Summary of Kentucky Kingdom LLLP Lease Agreement
1. Kentucky Kingdom LLLP to invest $45 million to improve amusement park with
opening in spring 2014.
$20 million in equity investment and a $25 million loan. All improvements become
property of Kentucky State Fair Board (KSFB).
$13 million to be invested in 2013 and 2014, of which $3 million going into debt reserve
fund as required by Lender; $2 million invested upon completion of 2014 season; $2
million invested upon completion of the 2015 season; and $3 million invested upon
completion of 2016 season.
Development plan set out in No. 6 commences after 2017 season.
2. Lease is for a 50 year initial term with four additional five-year renewal options.
3. 57 acres plus a potential four acres for expansion of the water park.
4. Rent starts at $475,000 per year beginning in 2014 and increases $50,000 a year for 15
years until it caps out at $1.2 million for the remainder of the initial term. KSFB receives
5 percent of the gross revenue in excess of $25 million for each operating year.
5. Parking - KSFB to pay Kentucky Kingdom $1.25 per visitor up to $450,000.
6. Kentucky Kingdom to spend at least $1 million per year (for the remainder of the initial
term of the lease) and capping out at $2.5 million a year or somewhere in between based
on a formula that is based on projections. All funds must be spent on park during initial
term. If park is sold (after KSFB approval), then KSFB gets all funds in maintenance
7. All rides/improvements purchased with $45 million will become the property of the state.
Kentucky Kingdom may lease future rides with other development funds in order to
leverage more new rides to increase attendance. When the leased rides are paid off, they
also become the property of the KSFB.
8. Mortgage will be placed on property to secure a portion of the $25 million loan taken out
by Kentucky Kingdom with bank. This is pursuant to KRS 56.515.
9. Lease can be sold with the consent of the KSFB to experienced park operator.
10. Lease may be terminated by either party within 90 days after execution if the financing
package is not acceptable to either Kentucky Kingdom or KSFB. Finance and
Administration Cabinet and KSFB will be involved in negotiations with bank to ensure
that the financing details are known to them during the financing acquisition phase.
11 After lease is signed, if park requires major unforeseen work not covered by Kentucky
Kingdom’s projections, it may terminate lease within 90 days of execution of lease.