Two years ago, many folks around the Grand Strand were thrilled about Hard Rock Park. Now, no one seems to want it.
The theme park couldn’t find a qualified bidder at its bankruptcy auction Thursday. The question now – what happens next?
The sign in front of the property still says the park will reopen in 2009. Local officials said that’s highly unlikely.
A Florida company, PARC Management, is interested in running Hard Rock Park but not buying it.
When the company asked local governments if they might be interested in investing in the bankrupt park, the idea went down like a Led Zeppelin.
“Horry County government is not in the amusement park business,” said Horry County council chairman Liz Gilland.
Horry County Attorney John Weaver sees a couple of potential outcomes:
The Chapter 11 reorganization could revert to Chapter 7, which would mean selling off the park’s assets. But he says that’s unlikely because it would be expensive for a buyer to dismantle the rides and move them.
Or, the bankruptcy court could dismiss the case and it would end up in common pleas court. The mortgage holders would repossess the property and sell off what they could.
Or there’s still a chance a buyer could appear at the last minute, and reopen the park. They might be able to get government help through tax credits or job training programs.
“There are some statutory assistance that they should be eligible for,” said Hugh Owens of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp.
What no one wants is for the park to become an eyesore. Chamber of Commerce and government leaders said, what’s holding things back is how much it would take to turn the park around.
“Hard Rock Park is either going to become a positive or a negative and we’ve all got high hopes that it’s going to be a strong positive and it can, but it’s going to take a lot of money,” Gilland said.
The park declared bankruptcy in September, just five months after it opened.