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Ownership of Santa Monica’s Iconic Pacific Park Turned Over to Oklahoma-Based Operator
By Niki Cervantes
May 3, 2018 -- With its owner of five years reportedly retiring, the reins for the popular amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier are being turned over to a new Oklahoma-based operator, the company's officials announced this week.
Representatives of Premier Parks, LLC, said the company has aquired Pacific Park from Mary Ann Powell, who joined as CEO in 1997 and acquired the operating company in 2012.
The park is the only pier amusement park on the West Coast and home to the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel. It is also L.A.’s only admission-free amusement park.
Premier Parks has a portfolio of 15 theme and water parks in the U.S. and Canada, many of which are part of the company’s “Wet ‘n’ Wild" brand name -- one of the most recognizable in the water-park industry, according to the company.
“Pacific Park is a terrific addition to our diverse portfolio of theme and water park properties,” said Kieran Burke, Chairman, president and CEO of Premier Parks.
“Pacific Park’s location on the historic Santa Monica Pier, its worldwide recognition and top locals’ destination provides us with a unique opportunity as operators of such an iconic property.”
The Pier’s two-acre amusement park overlooks the Pacific Ocean, with views that reach Catalina. It includes a dozen rides, 14 midway games, an oceanfront food plaza and beachside retail.
A statement from Premier Parks said Powell “achieved continuous year over year revenue growth, all while streamlining operations.
Powell also created "an industry-leading customer service program," opened 25 rides and attractions, refurbished the midway games area and branded the oceanfront food plaza, Premier Parks officials said.
News reports have said Powell is retiring.
“I am grateful to the amazing team at Pacific Park and the local community for their support in making Pacific Park a family favorite,” Powell said in a statement.
“Pacific Park was simply a dream opportunity more than 21 years ago and I’m so proud to be a part of the overwhelming success that it is today,” Powell said.
Pacific Park’s present management team, which is led by Jeff Klocke, Vice President and General Manager, will continue to operate the Park under the new ownership, Premier officials said.
“The well-established group has over 120 years of combined industry experience and over 50 years of combined Pacific Park management experience,” the company said.
Although Premier Parks now operates Pacific Park, the ground lease and physical assets are owned by EPR Properties in Kansas City, Mo. EPR Properties is a specialty real estate investment trust (REIT).
Pacific Park opened in 1996 -- the first amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier since the 1930s. It quickly became a Hollywood favorite.
Its park has been the locale for more than 500 movies, television and video productions.
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