great america

California's Great America to Close in 10 Years

Operator announces land has been sold, deal to continue operating the park for the rest of the lease

NBC Universal, Inc.

California’s Great America in Santa Clara now has an expiration date.

The park operator Cedar Fair announced Monday that it sold the land and ultimately will close the park.

The company sold the land for about $310 million to San Francisco-based company Prologis.

They also said they've signed a deal with the buyer to continue to run the park for "up to 11 years" before finally closing it down at the end of their current lease. 

In a statement, they said the park should continue to look and feel the same to visitors -- at least in the short term.

Visitors to the park on Monday were shocked to hear the news. Several employees at the park said they learned the news of the sale on Monday as well.

“It’s kind of a bummer you know, because we got kids here that enjoy this kind of thing, so shutting it down is not really good unless you open another park better or bigger somewhere else,” said Jaime Gonzalez of Hayward. Gonzalez brought his kids to the park Monday to ride the rollercoasters. He said Great America is a favorite spot for his family to visit when school is out for summer.

“I think that’s rough," said Anthony Carranza who drove out from Santa Rosa to enjoy the rides. "I’ve been coming to this park since I was seven, so a lot of memories with my family. This is the first time I’ve come with just friends so we’re making new memories today, so definitely a lot of nostalgia.”

Cedar Fair purchased the land in 2019 from the city of Santa Clara. Prior to that time, Cedar Fair said it leased the land from the city for more than forty years. A representative from Cedar Fair noted in an email that this new deal allows them to continue to operate "one of the most popular California entertainment destinations" by leasing back the property over a period of years.

Cedar Fair CEO and president Richard Zimmerman said in a statement that the company tried to keep Bay Area ties in this sale: “We chose Prologis as our partner because of their deep ties in the Bay Area and their reputation for working closely with local communities on large developments.” 

“For our investors, the sale and lease agreements allow us to monetize a high-value asset in the heart of Silicon Valley at a very attractive multiple," Zimmerman continued.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Prologis as well, a representative said they currently don't have any specific plans for future use of the land once the park closes.

"As we look past the lease expiration, we look forward to working with local government on the long-term plan, which we'll do through collaborative discussions with the city and local community," said a representative for Prologis in an email.

They'll have several years, and so will park fans, to figure it out.

The city of Santa Clara said it was just informed about the news of this sale.

"On the surface, it appears California's Great America will not change in the short term," said Santa Clara Mayor Lisa M. Gillmor in a statement. "My hope and goal is to keep California's Great America there as long as possible in the long term."

California's Great America has existed in Santa Clara since 1976.

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