WHITE PLAINS, NY -- By a vote of 17-0, the Board of Legislators (BOL) on Monday approved Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino's agreement with New York-based Standard Amusements for the management and revitalization of Playland. Under the agreement, Standard Amusements will invest $25 million in private money into Playland over the next five years, securing the long-term future of the county's iconic 100-acre amusement park in Rye.
"I want to thank Chairman Kaplowitz for his leadership on moving this forward with the necessary speed and due diligence," Astorino said. "This deal meets our three goals for preserving Playland by reversing the losses for taxpayers, putting the park in the hands of a top-flight operator, and revitalizing Playland as a must-visit destination for families for years to come."
Nicholas Singer, a successful investor and native of Westchester, architected the deal to restore the unique character of Playland.
"We'd like to thank the BOL for supporting our plans to return Playland to that special place I knew as a child. In hearings over the past two months, we've made a detailed effort to inform the local community of the steps we'll take to restore the park, and we're excited to have received its strong vote of confidence," Singer said. "We're excited to now move to the next phase, and begin the co-management arrangement, under the experienced eye of our CEO, Jack Falfas."
The $25 million investment will go toward revitalizing Playland with new rides and attractions, as well as upgrading food choices, picnic areas, and restaurants and renovating grounds and buildings. Standard Amusements will pay the county $2,250,000 up front; invest $22,750,000 million of its money within five years into refurbishing the park; and make annual payments to the county starting at $300,000 and escalating 2% a year. The county will also receive 7.5% of profits once Standard Amusements has recouped its initial investment.
For its $25 million investment, Standard Amusements will receive the right to operate the park for 15 years with an option to renew for an additional 15 years under what is being called the Playland Management Agreement (PMA). Standard Amusements has entered into an operating arrangement with United Parks, which is headed by CEO Jack Falfas. The structure of the PMA allows the county to retain full control of the property, as well as any material benefits from the capital improvements made by Standard Amusements.
With the BOL's approval on Monday, Standard Amusements will now co-manage Playland for the remainder of the 2015 season and will begin the transition to its role of sole operator on Nov. 1, 2015. Under the agreement, Standard Amusements will manage the amusement park, parking lot, beach, pool area and boardwalk. Outside the agreement are the Children's Museum, Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar, Edith Read Sanctuary and the Ice Casino.
Standard Amusements will continue the park's current admission policies which includes entry into the amusement park on a fee basis. Access to the boardwalk and other areas that are currently free will remain as such.