Branson's Proposed $600 Million Dollar Project

Europeon Village Style Resort ...hmmmm. Sound Good ? Sure it would be - but who's gonna pick up the tab? This will be the issue confronting the community as another developer seeks to have another private development subsidized. Sure, it's a better deal for Branson residents than subsidizing Wal-Mart; but, they may have picked a poor time to fight another TIFF battle.
It's believed that the lawsuit regarding TIFF's from the County will be in full force soon (Trust Me It's Coming).
As Huffman predicted, studies projected and results have proved - the Branson Landing is a new center of gravity for Branson. Perhaps, a development on the other side of the strip could create a balancing affect. Throw in a skytrain to reduce the already crowded streets and we may have something here. Perhaps, if we balance the massive cost of infrastructure the city would have to pay for transport we could call the whole thing a wash - get a new aquarium and Europeon style village....

Kathryn Buckstaff SNL Report
A new 600 million dollar development is being proposed by developer
Branson — A Branson native announced plans on Thursday to build a European village-style attraction anchored by an indoor water park resort and an aquarium.

David Cushman said the first phase of Pinnacle Falls of Branson will be built on land his family has owned for more than 50 years near Celebration City at the west end of Branson's entertainment strip.
The highlight of the 70-acre first phase is to be an engineered waterway running through the village. With technological magic, the waterway will vary from raging torrents to calm waters, and will feature lighting and special effects, said Mel Bilbo, consultant on the project.
The target date for opening the first phase is 2009, with an estimated price tag of $250 million, Cushman said.
"There have been rumors for years about aquariums and additional water parks," said Ross Summers, president of the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. "This is a pretty big project, even for what's already been accomplished in Branson. Should they acquire the appropriate financing, then we're all for it. It's a different style than Branson's seen before."

There also are to be themed shops and restaurants and family-fun features, including a talking fountain and wishing well and a large clock tower that is to be the star of a nightly show including animation, lighting, water and sound effects. Four other anchor attractions could include a specialty restaurant and a space for traveling exhibits.

The second phase that would use more of the total 308-acre site could bring other resorts and possibly another water park resort, but with no more than a total of 1,600 additional hotel rooms. Total cost is estimated to be about $600 million.

Cushman said he has an emotional connection to the property where he grew up.

"I've dreamed about what could happen on that land and for Branson," Cushman told a crowd at a press conference at the Chateau on the Lake. "This is a perfect project for this land. It doesn't compete with what's here, but brings something new to the marketplace."

Local impact

The project would be open year-round with covered walkways for inclement weather. The location is favorable for handling added traffic, Bilbo said. The property can be accessed from the five-lane Shepherd of the Hills Expressway and Missouri 376. It's also near the Ozark Mountain Highroad that connects Missouri 76 to U.S. 65.

Cushman said he expects the project would provide more than 1,000 additional jobs when completely built. That could take eight years, he said. Cushman said they'll also seek developers who could build affordable housing for employees.

Next: city hoops

The project has been under development for two years, Cushman said. Now that initial engineering is under way and a feasibility study has been completed, the project will soon be submitted to the city of Branson's planning and zoning process. Bilbo said the project's developers also will ask the city of Branson to approve tax-increment financing to help fund the $40 million to $50 million aquarium.

The project's neighbors include not only Celebration City across the street, but the 1890s Silver Dollar City theme park about five miles to the west. Both properties are owned by Herschend Family Entertainment Corp.

"We are aware the project is in discussion," said HFEC spokeswoman Lisa Rau. "We're watching its potential development, but as it's very early on, with much of the project planning still in the works, we believe it's premature to comment on its viability."

Feasibility studied

Team members on the project include Urban Retail, a Chicago leasing agency that also handles tenant acquisition for Branson Landing, the city's new shopping center, Bilbo said. That will help ensure there's a good mix of retail tenants for both properties.

The architect is St. Louis firm PGAV, the company that designed Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg, Va.

The feasibility study done by ECS Economic Consulting in Newport Beach, Calif., projected the attraction would bring more than 400,000 new visitors to Branson a year. That would provide enough new visitors to benefit other businesses in town, Bilbo said.

"We don't need a project coming to town to cannibalize what's already here," Bilbo said.

"This will attract a younger, more affluent demographic while retaining our current demographic. It will not turn off our busloads that are now beginning to visit us in the fall."

KY3 Reports:

BRANSON, Mo. -- A developer unveiled plans for a $600 million theme park off the Missouri 76 strip. The development will require the city’s approval.

The plans call for the Pinnacle Falls resort and theme park to be on 300 acres just west of Celebration City on the west side of Branson. Developer David Cushman said it wouldn’t be your typical theme park. He describes it as a European village with a water-based theme.

It would include a 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot aquarium and indoor water park connected to a hotel. Cushman says this has been his dream project for two years that he's been working on it.

Cushman also wants to add specialty retail stores and a variety of unique restaurants. He says, while it would complement the other parks in the area, Pinnacle Falls would add hundreds of thousands of new visitors to Branson.

“We'll have 400,000 incremental visits by guests that have never been to Branson, Mo., before,” he said.

That same feasibility study told Cushman that the park would get 4 million visits in the first year.

This is all contingent on passing a financial plan by the city. Cushman said he would need a tax increment financing district. If the plan goes forward, he hopes to break ground in 2007 and have the first phase up and running by 2009.