Rye Playland Revitalization Finally Wins Approval

John Jordan | June 25, 2015

WHITE PLAINS—A little over a year since the Astorino administration’s preferred bidder withdrew its proposal to revitalize Rye Playland, Standard Amusements secured the unanimous approval to launch a $25-million redevelopment of the storied amusement park,

By a vote of 17-0, the Westchester County Board of Legislators on June 15th 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 funds into Playland over the next five years.

“I want to thank Chairman (Michael)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 partner in Standard Amusements, said, “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. 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, Standard Amusements will 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 include entry into the amusement park on a fee basis. Access to the boardwalk and other areas that are currently free will remain as such.

Westchester County Executive Astorino announced on June 11, 2014 that Sustainable Playland, its preferred developer, had withdrawn its proposal after not receiving sufficient support from the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth