Hard Rock Park files for bankruptcy

Hard Rock Park

Placing blame on the sour economy, park officials announced they've closed for the season.

The company is very open about what problems they are having financially.

On their website, HRP Myrtle Beach Holdings, LLC, the parent company of Hard Rock Park, says the downturn in consumer spending, plus rising fuel costs have had a significant impact on tourism on the Grand Strand.

Add the frozen credit markets and the bad economy, and they decided bankruptcy was their only course of action.

A few key points:

Hard Rock Park officials say they will reopen next spring. Chief Executive Officer Steven Goodwin says Chapter 11 Bankruptcy will help them reorganize and address financial issues.

It is questionable, park officials say, whether current season ticket holders will receive refunds or any extensions.

The park also says they don't expect any additional layoffs for their off season employees.

Gary Loftus, an economist with Coastal Carolina University, said this Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is a good and bad thing. He says of course the bad thing is that it happened at all. He says there is good in the timing. The impact both on image and tourists will be somewhat diminished since it is the offseason.

Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes said, "With the economy like it is, the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization is the proper way to go. It means they can revamp and reorganize and be strong as ever. When something with the name Hard Rock has trouble, it is absolutely going to have some negative impact on our community. It's terrible. I just hope things get worked out so we can have this amusement park reopened next year. This was certainly a big investment to open up during an economic crisis."

NewsChannel 15 talked with Brad Dean the CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. He said, "We're naturally disappointed, as we had hoped Hard Rock Park would establish itself as an anchor attraction along the Grand Strand. Clearly that did not happen. We remain hopeful they can retool their business plan and reemerge from bankruptcy with a better chance of profitability in 2009."