Six Flags Astroworld to close permanentlyStories in both the Chronicle and the Houston Business Journal. I have to say I'm stunned. I haven't been since my much younger years, but Astroworld seems like a right-of-passage for kids in Houston. (ahhh, memories of zero to 60mph launches in <6>that afraid of the new Schlitterbahn in Galveston?
On the plus side, it seems one of the key factors is that the land has gotten too valuable there. With the growth of the Medical Center and the light rail line, I guess there are higher-better uses for that land than a theme park. One of the articles does mention some equipment moving to Six-Flags-owned Splashtown on 45 North near The Woodlands. Not sure if that's just some WaterWorld stuff, or they're looking to build out Splashtown into the new Astroworld. Looking at the Google satellite map, there does seem to be enough land for a buildout up there - but it's gotta be real expensive to move all those rides, and I'm pretty sure the venerable Texas Cyclone won't be making the trip.
I do think there's a chance this won't happen. There is a lot of dead and low-value land along the South Loop. They may not find the buyers they think they will, especially when they take into account the cost of demolition and clearing the land. Maybe even environmental hazards? I'll bet ride maintenance crews weren't all that diligent with grease, oil, lubricants and who-knows-what. This all may be some clever negotiating tactic with Reliant for parking or with the city for tax breaks. It's also possible Six Flags may be acquired soon and the buyer may have alternate plans.
So don't count it out yet. But, just in case, you may want to get your last shot of nostalgia during a pleasant-weather weekend in October...