If you were holding out hope that Hard Rock Park might still reopen this year, hold your breath no longer. That will not happen.
New court documents filed Friday show the financially-embattled theme park wants to liquidate, and experts say that is the proverbial final nail in the coffin.
The rumor mill was swirling long before the park first filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in September. That was a move that indicated the park wanted to restructure its debt and possibly reopen in 2009, perhaps under new ownership.
Then in December, the park was put up for auction for hundreds of millions less than the investment, but no one came forward with a suitable price.
"Despite considerable effort ... the Debtors were unable to consummate a sale of all, or substantially all, of their assets on terms and conditions acceptable to the Debtors," the Debtors' attorneys wrote in Friday's court filings.
Since they were unable to sell the park, the park's debtors asked a bankruptcy court in delaware for permission to convert to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which in a nutshell, means the park is done.
"Regrettably, conversion of these cases to cases under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code thus appears to be the only remaining means of allowing the Debtors assets to be liquidated and potential causes of action to be pursued and monetized for the benefit of creditors," the attorneys continued.
If granted Chapter 7, the court will appoint a trustee and the park's assets will be sold off piece by piece to pay off creditors. However, those creditors will likely end up getting just pennies on the dollar for what they are owed. When it opened, the park was estimated to be worth $400 million. The park's opening bid to sell in December was $35 million.
In these recent court filings, the park's attorneys say the park fell into trouble when it wasn't able to effectively market itself, among other things.
The filing reads in part:
"The park opened on time and under budget in April 2008, after nearly two years of construction. Although guest satisfaction levels were strong and guests spent considerable amounts on food, beverage and retail items, overall attendance at the Park was lower than expected, primarily as a result of macroeconomic conditions that significantly depressed overall demand in the travel and leisure industry, as well as the Debtor's inability to devote sufficient resources to local, regional and out-of-market marketing in their initial year of operations."
If anyone, for instance park creditors, wants to object to this chapter 7 filing, they better do it soon. The park's attorneys have asked the courts to close the objection period by Monday, Jan. 5, at noon.