Federal Way’s Wild Waves sold to EPR Properties

Wild Waves and Enchanted Village has changed ownership – again.

CNL Lifestyle Properties, the owner of the Federal Way-based theme park since 2007, recently announced it has sold the park to Missouri-Based EPR Properties. The specialty real estate investment trust (REIT) invests in properties with markets that require “unique industry knowledge.”

Of the 36 ski and water and amusement parks CNL Lifestyle sold for $830 million, EPR Properties scooped up half, in addition to the Northstar California Ski Resort and five small family entertainment centers for a total of $456 million.

It is unknown how much Wild Waves was sold for, however, the 70-acre park and its parking lots are appraised at $16.2 million by the King County Department of Assessments.

EPR Properties’ president and chief executive officer, Gregory Silvers, said his company is “extremely pleased” to announce the transaction, which took two years worth of negotiations.

“This portfolio of high quality ski and attractions assets builds on our expertise in the recreation segment, where we have a track record of delivering consistent and reliable cash flows,” Silvers said in a news release. “The transaction is not only expected to be immediately accretive, but it will also diversify our portfolio with proven, durable assets that are aligned with the positive trends we are seeing in the experience economy.”

Jeff Stock, the landlord of the property the park sits on, managed the park with Todd Suchan, the park’s general manager, since 2011 under CNL Lifestyle’s ownership. Stock was also a former owner of the park but sold the company to Six Flags for $19 million in 2000.

In an interview, Stock told the Mirror EPR Properties will lease the company back to Six Flag’s former chief executive officer Kieran Burke, however, Stock and the management team he put in place will remain.

“It’s only going to get better,” Stock said. “In the last six years since I’ve come back, we’ve brought it back … and with the minimum wage [increase], we have some challenges. He’s the right guy to have in charge and I’ll be there hand-in-hand to help him.”

Six Flags replaced Burke, who left in a mutual decision with the board of directors, in 2005 with Mark Shapiro, a former ESPN executive.

But Stock said Six Flags, under Burke’s leadership, invested about $20 million into the park and believes this “is a plus” for Federal Way’s economy.

“Mr. Burke loves this market,” he said.

Stock said the transaction on the park, as well as CNL Lifestyle’s entire portfolio, won’t close until the second quarter of 2017.

Burke is currently the co-founder (along with former Six Flags chief operating officer Gary Story) of Premier Parks, LLC. Premier Parks, LLC operated nine properties under CNL Lifestyle, including five Wet’n’Wild properties, Darien Lake in New York, Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park in Colorado, and Frontier City in Oklahoma.

EPR Properties is the fourth owner of the park it was opened in 1977 as Enchanted Village. Owner Byron Betts build the adjacent Wild Waves Waterpark in 1984.

In 1992, Betts sold the parks to Stock, who merged Enchanted Village and Wild Waves Waterpark into one park. Stock then sold it in 2000 to Six Flags, which sold the park to CNL Lifestyle Properties in 2007. CNL Lifestyle is based in Orlando and leased Wild Waves to PARC Management until January 2011 when they announced NorPoint Entertainment as the new management of Wild Waves.

Stock formed NorPoint Entertainment for assembling a management team for Wild Waves.

Under CNL Lifestyle’s ownership, Wild Waves added the Mountain Dew Slide Complex, which features three tube water slides. In 2011, they added The Riptide and this summer, the park’s name was changed to Wild Waves Theme Park and Enchanted Village.