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Earth Quest Adventure

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No kidding... that's what my post was supposed to evoke. That so far it's been delay after delay and excuse after excuse. it's not going anywhere. I wish it were... but it's not. Not yet at least.

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No. Poeple are not expecting this to get of the ground, but people are.

It's so ironic that the 'poeple' who advise others to let this project go are always the ones who get this thread started back up again. Just sayin'.

Maybe you should go tell Contour Entertainment to stop doing their new market research study and to bring the new organization plan they are working on to a halt, because no matter what they do, it will never get off the ground. I'm sure they would truly value some more advice from anonymous theme park developers on the internet.

I personally don't know if it will ever get off the ground, I hope it will. I think Contour having more control over the project is a positive direction. Don't agree? Sue me.

Edited by Mister X

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This was just posted by the Earthquest Institute Facebook page:

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to give you all my assessment of the situation with regard to EarthQuest Institute and the connection with the now reorganized EarthQuest Adventures Theme Park project.

First, Dr. Matt Gardner and myself (Don A. Holbrook) have not been formally affiliated with the project since 2010. That is because the Non-Profit lost it's financial support from EMCID, and could no longer pay us for our time spent on the project. When this occurred the former staff ceased all fundraising efforts seeking clarification on how to progress EQI, but did not get any direction from the Board of Directors. In fact, Dr. Gardner, Myself and another staff member continued to perform our contractually obligated services at the request of EQI and EMCID and we have not been paid after almost two years for our time, which was deferred under this promise of payment. Finally, the former staff resigned and have awaited our final compensation now for over two years. Therefore, while we as the former staff remain very supportive of EQI, we cannot represent them or respond to requests for more information uncompensated for our time.

At this time, the original board of directors no longer exists or is not functional. Leon Cubillas the EMCID Chair was unelected, so I believe according to the formation by-laws the new Chair Person of EQI is Connie Bloodworth of EMCID. The developer also required as a minimum board member John Marlin no longer controls the Global EarthQuest Adventures Theme Park project and it would be my understanding that now Mr. Chris Brown the new developer (Contour Entertainment) would automatically become the 2nd board member of the three required. Mr. Don Lessem the original creative idea and founder has the third seat by rule of the formation and by-laws but he has formally resigned and does not want to be responsible for EQI debts and/or mission any further. That seat will need to be filled by EMCID and Contour.

All the files related to the EQI have been turned over to the Federal Government until EMCID and the remaining board members can take corrective action to address the EQI debts and on-going concerns.

Please do not reference the former staff, who were paid to manage the Board of Directors ideas for how to progress EQI as part of the basis for why EQI is not functioning or responding to the media. This is squarely the results of the original board of directors not fulfilling their obligations to provide adequate funding for the EQI and payment of their obligations that they agreed to provide to the former staff for undertaking and carrying out their instructions.

Furthermore, EMCID and Contour have both stated to me that once the new theme park project gets funded that EQI is going to be addressed and brought forward again in connection with the for profit project as a major element of the projects vision for a sustainable message underlying the fun elements of the theme park.

We wish EQI nothing but good luck, and we believe the original message and mission is still very valid and critical. In our opinion, without the support financially of EMCID and the developer well documented and carried out the fund raising was not adequate enough to maintain the mission. It can and should be a major contributor to the theme park mission and message once that is viable. In fact, it is my understanding that the current developer and EMCID have formally planned on including EQI in their new development agreement, but the former staff has not been apprised of how our deferred compensation is going to be addressed as of this date. We have been assured by EMCID that our unpaid time will be addressed that EMCID will make sure that we are fully paid at some point. We feel we have been more than patient but would like a definitive time for who and how we are going to get paid.

We just recently were informed of yet more media requests related to EQI and at this point we feel it is most appropriate that any such information requests should be addressed to EMCID in the future. They were the organization ultimately responsible for the formation of EQI and funded the first two years of operation and EMCID has control of the development agreement with Contour with regard to the themepark, so they are the best point of informational contact on this matter.

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I'd say something specific about the players involved, but don't want to be thrown in with all the litigation.

Suffice it to say, if I were a hypothetical key employee of a failed entity that owed its existence to a government entity acting as angel investors, and my entity's business plan sucked and serious allegations had been made of impropriety on my part, then I would not be making a fuss about not getting paid even more money from the investors. I would not be deferring blame to the investors at all. I wouldn't be citing hearsay from them or about them to the public or the media. I'd be making as few waves as possible. I'd try to get on with my life, probably in a different city doing something very different. I might even consider seeking a legal name change.

That's just what I would do. It's just one man's opinion. (This statement is not intended as legal advice and should be strictly construed within the limits of the hypothetical scenario that is proposed with limited applicability to complex real-world situations.)

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I'd say something specific about the players involved, but don't want to be thrown in with all the litigation.

Suffice it to say, if I were a hypothetical key employee of a failed entity that owed its existence to a government entity acting as angel investors, and my entity's business plan sucked and serious allegations had been made of impropriety on my part, then I would not be making a fuss about not getting paid even more money from the investors. I would not be deferring blame to the investors at all. I wouldn't be citing hearsay from them or about them to the public or the media. I'd be making as few waves as possible. I'd try to get on with my life, probably in a different city doing something very different. I might even consider seeking a legal name change.

That's just what I would do. It's just one man's opinion. (This statement is not intended as legal advice and should be strictly construed within the limits of the hypothetical scenario that is proposed with limited applicability to complex real-world situations.)

Ouch.

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Interesting. I'd figured that the state Attorney General would want to become involved, but I had not figured this controversy to fit within a federal jurisdiction. Could something about the bankruptcy have triggered it?

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www.realscam.com/f11/don-allen-holbrook-iedc-international-economic-development-council-rogue-member-1240/index36.html#post31249

Don Holbrook's sickening attack on the John and Jane Does (taxpayers commenting on a matter of public concern - Earthquest) has ended. All of the remaining defendants in his third-party lawsuit in Ohio have been dismissed by the judge, so that case is effectively over. We taxpayers have every right to comment on Earthquest! Holbrook's bid to drag everyone into court in Ohio was beyond ridiculous. Frank McCrady best check out people he is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to much more carefully!

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Don't confuse some person's personal vendetta against Don Holbrook with the actual EarthQuest project. Maybe Holbrook's lawsuits are through but that does NOT mean EarthQuest has ended. In fact, it is totally asinine trying to link the two subjects. Holbrook is not developing EQ, Contour is. Just keep your facts straight. I know that really IS asking a lot.

Here is an EarthQuest update (as opposed to a Don 'yawn' Holbrook) update:

After months and months of ignoring their facebook page, Contour Entertainment finally posted JUST TODAY that EarthQuest is in the funding phase.

Sure, we've heard all that before, But I think it's a positive sign that Contour is at least acknowledging and answering questions on their facebook page now. I mean, we are still nowhere, but it at least proves that somebody at Contour is still pursuing the project. Hey I know it isn't much, but it is STILL some sign (however small) of life.

After YEARS of nothingness BLVD place, Regent Square, the Midtown Superblock and the HOUSTON TEXANS sprung back into action and so can EQ.

Now back to the "Soapbox Mom presents The Jumping to Conclusions" show...

Edited by Mister X
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Don't they use punctuation in Dallas anymore? Go back and read the last 6 years worth of postings and then it will all make sense.

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The report said that the EarthQuest project IS NOT dead and that the developer (Contour, who they didn't even mention) has until December to purchase the property.

They also failed to mention that Soapboxmom broke the story. You should sue!

Like all stories I've heard about EQ in the last year, this was a very incomplete story that has nothing definitive to say about the project. They certainly didn't report ANYTHING that was not already WELL KNOWN about the status of the project.

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...are on in the same - what? :wacko:

The brainchild of EarthQuest was/is 'Dino' Don Lessum. Don Holbrook just tried to get it funded and sued you for slander (or something) which is why you are still all over the internet conducting your own personal war with him. Although, as you can see from the lack of responses - NOBODY GIVES A DAMN.

Contour Entertainment has control of the project now. And they have until December to purchase the land.

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Dino Don came in with an interactive dino museum aptly named Dinosaur City with an interactive dino museum, dino dig and IMAX theater that was projected to cost around $50,000,000.00. Earthquest is the blown-up mega theme park born of that seed that Don Holbrook is very much responsible for.

Judging from the intensifying media coverage, it seems the public is quite interested in Don Holbrook's role in this dino disaster. He was the focus of much of Click 2 Houston's recent stories. Sadly, Don Holbrook is still threatening everyone who dares to comment. The taxpayers should never be afraid to discuss where and how their tax dollars are being spent!

Soapboxmom

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Don Holbrook just tried to get it funded and sued you for slander (or something) which is why you are still all over the internet conducting your own personal war with him. Although, as you can see from the lack of responses - NOBODY GIVES A DAMN.

I give a damn. It's just that I'm used to my current events news being delivered in broad strokes rather than pointing to research and minutiae that require time and mental effort to process. So yeah, maybe its my fault for appreciating her diligent research, but not actually looking at every little bit of it in order to derive a comment.

I encourage her to keep talking, if only because someone tried to intimidate her into being quiet. Let her vocal stance a lesson to bullies with attorneys.

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Without knowing the specifics of know where the money was spent, the amount doesn't really seem like a lot for such a huge project. The deal guys are always a little shady, but they make great things happen. What kills deals like this are lack of momentum and confidence. Too much FUD and they can't get the next round of funding. The bottom line-- If they had gotten the money they needed, it would have been built and it would have created something relevant in an area that has very little to offer. Now it will be a shooting range and more urban sprawl. Congratz soapboxmom! You broke it alright.

Edited by boounce

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When I say NOBODY, I was referring to normal people. People who spend all day wasting time on the internet are not normal.

If EQ ever becomes are reality, no one will give a rat's behind about any of this behind the scenes crap. If EQ becomes a reality, all money spent to make the project happen (assuming it will be profitable) will have been justified. And life will move on.

Face it. Few people are even acknowledging or following this story. Sure, I am, and you are, but despite the few stories that have come out over the months about how money was spent on developing EQ, most people still are not even aware that this project even exist. The public doesn't seem THAT interested in Don Holbrook. A few people on the internet with nothing better to do and reporters trying to fill airtime on slow news days doesn't exactly constitute the scandal of the century, now does it?

Just put this in perspective. A lot more people are interested in Houston getting a new theme park than what goes on in Soapboxmom, Holbrook or some internet blogger's personal life.

The only important information that was revealed in that lame channel 2 report is...

1. The project is still trying to get financing and is not dead. The new developers have until December to purchase the land (already knew that).

2. Frank McCrady and others from the EMCID paid back the extra expenses that were made on the trips that were made to gather data about successful theme park resorts out of their own pocket. Eventually.

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Even in the project description it is vague on ground breaking, but this project is now requesting bids per this bid alert site. Just thought I'd share.

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http://ourtribune.com/article.php?id=14410

Don Allen Holbrook has continued to pillage and plunder the EMCID taxpayers for a defunct charity he helped to run into the ground. Through May of this year Frank McCrady paid Holbrook $8,334.00 a month of tax dollars (which was the only income listed on his August 2011 ongoing bankruptcy). All this time Holbrook claimed the Earthquest Institute was on hiatus and he told the accountants to withhold documents required by law to be public.

Frank McCrady is trying to withhold documents concerning the exorbitant amount the taxpayers are spending on high priced attorneys he had to hire as multiple agencies are investigating the Earthquest debacle. It is time to show Frank McCrady the door!!!

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http://www.click2houston.com/news/Judge-calls-amusement-park-taxpayer-tragedy/-/1735978/17445754/-/5dow88/-/index.html

Awesome update! Notice all the opinionated Texans speaking out on the comment section. Don Allen Holbrook will not silence the taxpayers of the great State of Texas!!!

Chris Brown isn't going to get away with claiming Earthquest is a private business matter after the millions upon millions of tax dollars thrown at this pipe dream!

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Everything in this article was opinion, except for the fact that the project is STILL being developed.

"I still think we have a project that is viable," McCrady said during an interview with Local 2 Investigates in September.

McCrady said a new developer has until December to raise millions of dollars to buy the land and start the process of planning and building the amusement park project again.

Sounds like Contour is working hard to get the financing. You can ask all the questions you want, but Chris Brown isn't obligated to tell anybody anything while they are still working on the financing.

Edited by Mister X

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This has not been well-publicized. Here is the late notice:

EMCID Board Meeting

Share:

Name: EMCID Board Meeting

Date: December 13, 2012

Time: 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Back to Calendar

Location:

EMCID Board Room

21575 Hwy 59 N.

New Caney, TX 77357

Contact Information:

281-354-4419

Chris Brown of Contour Entertainment and his financial person are expected.

Edited by Soapboxmom

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All good news. EarthQuest seems far from dead as so many have claimed it to be. I'm sure many people are happy to hear that Contour has agreed to pay EMCID $8.6 million. I, of course, am elated to hear that Chris Brown is so optimistic that the project is on course for funding.

I know we have heard this before from the EMCID and Frank McCrady. But hearing it from Chris Brown of Contour gives me renewed hope, especially since he is giving us more specific timelines and transparency.

"Between 30 and 45 days, Contour will develop a investor package proposal. Within 90 days, Brown said they expect to receive sufficient feedback on the investor contacts. Brown said high net worth individuals and corporations have already expressed an interest, though he did not reveal any names. And, 90 days after that period, Contour will "hopefully" be funded at least with half of the $500 million needed in order to move forward."

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During a recent EMCID board meeting, Brown said the Earthquest project is still alive because the financial markets have improved and he believes investors will line up to fund the $500 million idea.

The improvement district board voted to give Brown another six months to secure that funding and then buy the land to start the project over again.

"I'm very confident this is going to happen," Brown said. "That's why I keep spending money every month, like an idiot. hoping it's going to happen. If we only raise $150 million, we're going to do a project. We want to raise the whole $500 million. I believe we can."

"We have a developer who has a mission to accomplish," McCrady said after the meeting. "Certainly, we are very confident and are placing our faith and trust in the reports we're getting back from our consultants."

As of Friday, EMCID is not spending any new tax money on the project. The new developer is paying for all the costs associated with the pre-development. If the project breaks ground and gets final approval, Brown said his company would pay back around $8 million to EMCID.

Edited by Mister X

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So the Montgomery County is in the hole from the first developer. A second, more experienced developer is using their own money and will pay back $8 million if they successfully get financing. Why not support them in every way possible? Why the continued spread of FUD?

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http://www.yourhoust...19bb2963f4.html

This is really getting interesting.

The EMCID now seems to be encouraging the developers of the Grand Texas Theme Park to build near the EarthQuest Resort. They want TWO theme parks in East Montgomery County to compliment each other to bring more tourist into the area.

Last I heard, Grand Texas was scouting out locations near the Woodlands or somewhere in Ft. Bend County. Sounds like they have had no luck in those areas. But now it sounds like the EMCID is going after them.

Edited by Mister X

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More great reporting from one of America's premier news sources, The "Our Tribune" has outdone itself in its investigative reporting. Not one, but two complete sentences this time, I'm impressed!

 

At the EMCID meeting last night, Chris Brown of Contour Entertainment said that they have several investors lined up and are still working to get a main investor for the project. He said that he is comitted to getting EarthQuest built and has no plans of scaling it down from the original $500 million dollar vision. He also said that he would build the park in phases if he has to. He did not go in to details at the public meeting but he did meet with the EMCID board in a closed session. The EMCID is still pursuing the project and Chris Brown has NEVER sounded more committed to getting EarthQuest built.

 

I remember a time when NO ONE from the EarthQuest development team showed up to these meetings at all. At least now the developers are there in person to give timely updates on the project.

 

Hardly a 'dead' project. For what it's worth SBM, I'm betting on Grand Texas TOO!

 

 

Edited by Mister X

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Now HERE is an article worthy of re-linking across the internet...

 

http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/cleveland/news/earthquest-developers-plan-to-close-on-land-in-june/article_24b139fa-e3a1-5f49-a47d-bb2326f953ef.html

 

"Representatives from Contour Entertainment, the developers of EarthQuest, continue to meet with financial groups to secure funding for the park; they plan to officially close on the land in June."

 

“We are pleased with the discussions and the comments Contour Entertainment had about EarthQuest during our meeting with them March 18. They will close on the land in June and with the agreement, they will pay us back. We are just one step closer to EarthQuest,” McCrady said.

 

Not quite the bleak scenario that the previous 'article' painted.

Edited by Mister X
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They are still meeting with groups to secure funding, yet can definitively say they will close in three months? 

 

I'll believe it when I see it, wish it no ill, but Astroworld failed for a reason. A more narrowly focused product up in the sticks sounds, to my ear, less profitable. 

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The article says they have some investors, but not a main investor at this time. Maybe they have enough investor money to close on the land, but not enough to build the entire park to the original plans at this time. The article says 'plan' to close, not 'definitively' close. So just keep it in perspective. That is what the Grand Texas people are saying about their project too.

 

Still, if Contour is able to close on the land in June, that will be the best news that we have gotten about this project in a long time. I believe things when I see them too, but with Chris Brown of Contour and representatives from Contour's investment firm (Stern Brothers & Co.) at least attending EMCID meetings on a regular basis now to give updates on the project to the public and EMCID board, you can at least take comfort that this project is moving forward.

 

According to reports, Chris Brown insist that one way or another they WILL build a theme park on that land. They want to build the entire $500 million version, but he has said he will build in phases for less initial investment if he has to. I personally like the sound of that. I can only hope that it's true.

 

The project obviously stalled last year when Marlin/Atlantis (the park's original developer) went bankrupt but since then Contour has met every new deadline and restructuring mandates that were given to them by the EMCID board in order to keep the project alive. Things appear to be going exactly the way they are supposed to be going at this time. 

 

Just about every major successful theme park in this nation is built at least 20 miles from major population centers, AstroWorld was one of the few exceptions. It's proximity to the inner city was actually one of the causes of it's closure.

 

This has been well documented and everyone in the theme park industry is well aware that the Six Flags Corporate managers closed AstroWorld in a misguided attempt to raise quick cash from the land sales to try to save their company from bankruptcy. AstroWorld always made a moderate profit. But the Six Flags decision makers believed the inner city land that AstroWorld was built on was more valuable than it actually was. I understand that all the persons who had anything to do with that decision no longer work for Six Flags.

 

I really believe that Chris Brown and Contour Entertainment would not be risking their very good reputation by investing time and money into EarthQuest if they didn't think the project was going to be successful. They just did a new updated market research report (one of the requirements from the EMCID when Contour took over the project) and from the info I got, it was determined that market conditions have only improved the chances for success since the project was first announced.  It probably has something to do with Houston's population explosion and booming economy.

 

Now, bring on the cartoons... I may be speaking to a cloud, but I'm not yelling this time.

Edited by Mister X

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They are still meeting with groups to secure funding, yet can definitively say they will close in three months?

I'll believe it when I see it, wish it no ill, but Astroworld failed for a reason. A more narrowly focused product up in the sticks sounds, to my ear, less profitable.

And that reason definitely wasn't attendance.

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And that reason definitely wasn't attendance.

 

It was profitability, at least when compared with the perceived opportunity cost of the land it was on.  It was worth more dead than alive. 

 

Maybe cheap land up in Montgomery County and a low cost of financing will make the difference for a theme park business model to work in greater Houston, but I remain skeptical and open to being proven wrong. Successful private ventures are always a good thing in my book. 

 

To the extent any tax payers are on the hook for this thing, I hope it goes down in flames before that has a chance to become binding. 

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Taxpayers are already on the hook for this thing to the extent they will ever be. Taxpayer money has already been spent (years ago) to develop EQ. If the project dies now, so does any chance of EVER getting that money back. From this point forward it is all up to Contour and their investors. The EMCID is not spending another dime on this project. In fact, in order for it to move forward Contour had to agree to repay the EMCID back EVERY cent they ever invested - which they agreed to do. -But that only happens IF the park is built.

 

Remain skeptical if you want to, Nate. They certainly still have a long way to go before they break ground, but there is no question that this project is in better shape today than it ever was. Especially now that closing on the property is finally in site.

 

It is common knowledge that Six Flags never got anything near what they were asking for the AstroWorld property. The land has been vacant for 8 years. Now instead of having the entire state of Texas in their back pocket, Six Flags is going to get some major competition one day. The Six Flags management team that replaced the ones who closed AstroWorld publicly said it was a 'mistake' to close AstroWorld and that they would not have closed the park if it was their decision. To the new Six Flags management, AstroWorld was worth more to them ALIVE, but it was too late. Six Flags filed for bankruptcy protection anyway.

Edited by Mister X

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Taxpayers are already on the hook for this thing to the extent they will ever be. Taxpayer money has already been spent (years ago) to develop EQ. If the project dies now, so does any chance of EVER getting that money back. From this point forward it is all up to Contour and their investors. The EMCID is not spending another dime on this project. In fact, in order for it to move forward Contour had to agree to repay the EMCID back EVERY cent they ever invested - which they agreed to do.

 

Remain skeptical if you want to, Nate. They certainly still have a long way to go before they break ground, but there is no question that this project is in better shape today than it ever was. Especially now that closing on the property is finally in site.

 

It is common knowledge that Six Flags never got anything near what they were asking for the AstroWorld property. The land has been vacant for 8 years. Now instead of having the entire state of Texas in their back pocket, Six Flags is going to get some major competition one day. The Six Flags management team that replaced the ones who closed AstroWorld publicly said it was a 'mistake' to close AstroWorld and that they would not have closed the park if it was their decision. To the new Six Flags management, AstroWorld was worth more to them ALIVE, but it was too late. Six Flags filed for bankruptcy protection anyway.

 

If the cost is sunk, then full speed ahead with best wishes from me. 

 

Was AstroWorld cash flow positive toward the end? My latest experiences there were not good, though earlier memories were. This left an impression that theme parks were a losing bet here, that could be entirely wrong on my part.

 

What has Contour developed previously? 

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The problem with Astroworld wasn't Astroworld - it was a Six Flags problem.

 

A small company amusement parks company (Premier Parks I think) from Oklahoma took over a much bigger one in the late 90's/early 2000's. (Six Flags).  They did this by borrowing gobs of cheap debt.  Then they bought a bunch more parks over seas  - there was a Six Flags Holland, etc.  and domestically - Jazzland etc.   All financed by cheap debt.    

 

Problem with cheap debt is you have to pay it back eventually.   Cash flow got tight.   Oops.   Stopped investing in parks and new rides (this is why Astroworld seemed to go downhill towards the end - cash flow cruch at the parent company) 

 

So what can we sell?    Sold off the foreign parks.  Wasn't enough.   Then what parks - Well Astroworld is close in to town - has to be worth a lot to a developer - right?   Well we all know how that worked out.

 

Astroworld was done in by poor corporate management and neglect due to parent company issues.

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I don't think Astroworld is a good comparison because Astroworld was a park that was designed to pull a local audience. Earthquest seems like it's designed to draw a wider audience because of its uniqueness. In that case, I think that the potential development of Grand Texas is a huge plus towards this happening, because that makes the area a potential multi day destination.

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From a Parker Brothers business standpoint, the loss of AstroWorld was like watching a bad, immature Monopoly player who is dangerously short on cash and who owns St. Charles Place with 3 houses on it, with no clear knowledge of it's value, decide to mortgage all the houses and sell the deed for 1/4 of the value even though he still owns Virginia Ave and States Ave. So what - if there is a Chance Card that directs people to go to St. Charles Place, increasing your odds that someone will land on it. So what - if your odds are also increased that people will land on St. Charles Place because of its proximity to the jail and that a smart player knows that everyone lands in jail on a regular basis which usually keeps you covered in cash if you don't panic in bad times.

 

The lesson: NEVER sell St. Charles Place! AstroWorld was St. Charles Place. Not the most expensive, property on the board or capable of the highest windfalls or in the most desirable neighborhood, but it is always a cash cow, and guaranteed steady income if you are lucky enough to also get control of all the maroon properties (which Six Flags Corp had) and smart enough to build a hotel as quickly as possible (which Six Flags Corp was not).

 

EarthQuest has the potential to be Boardwalk, IMO, and that is why I want Houston to not give up the game until we control it. -and it's still for sale!

 

I'm not sure what Grand Texas will be yet. It might start out as Vermont Ave and be traded up for something better in the future if it gets lucky or is controlled by a skilled player.

 

The new Playland Park in Texas City looks strictly Baltic Ave, but that has some value too, if you can get a hotel on it.

 

Check out the Contour website to see the other projects they've done. It's fun.

Edited by Mister X

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