Coney operator already profitable, plans to invest $5M more

August 22, 2011 05:38PM

The Steeple Chase ride at Coney Island’s Scream Zone

Central Amusement International, the firm behind the redevelopment of the old Coney Island amusement park, has had two profitable years from the $25 million it spent to build Luna Park and Scream Zone, and plans to spend an additional $5 million to build up the final 60,000-square-foot lot it leased from the city by next summer, Crain’s reported. Central Amusement, a subsidiary of Italian ride manufacturer Zamperla, will also upgrade the Cyclone and much of the retail along the boardwalk, to the dismay of old-timers.

The firm pays $100,000 in rent to the city per year in a lease through 2020, and also relinquishes a percentage of its revenues to the city.

About 450,000 people visited the amusement parks last season yielding sales of $10 million, according to Crain’s, and 400,000 more people had come through the end of July this year, with 10 weeks left in the season, for a total sales projection of $15 million. The parks have also created 400 jobs.

“It has been fabulous; they have exceeded our expectations,” said Nate Bliss, vice president of the city’s Economic Development Corp. and president of the Coney Island Development Corp. “Last year, visits to the beach and businesses broke all sorts of records, and despite the weather we are on pace to surpass that.”

Crain’s attributes Central Amusement’s success to its ability to incorporate the area’s history into the new parks. [Crain’s]