Developers of a proposed $500 million eco-friendly entertainment complex near Houston said last week they hope to have financing arranged by the end of 2010 and open the facility in 2013.
Utility infrastructure for the proposed EarthQuest theme park has been financed with proceeds from $7.6 million of revenue bonds issued in early 2009 by the East Montgomery County Improvement District.
The bonds are rated A by Standard & Poor’s.
The bond financing was authorized by the Texas Legislature, which passed a measure in 2008 allowing the improvement district to establish the special taxing zone for the planned entertainment complex.
The revenue bonds are supported by a hotel tax, a fee on admission tickets to the park, and sales tax revenues. Support would also come from the district’s 1.5% sales tax, which would increase to 2% within the proposed park’s enterprise zone.
The improvement district’s boundaries are coterminous with the Splendora and New Caney independent school districts, which have a combined population of nearly 57,000 and a tax base of $2.2 billion.
The district has $13.4 million of outstanding debt.
The planned park is expected to employ 1,200 workers.
The project was first proposed as a 50-acre dinosaur-focused park in 2006, but developers have been unable to obtain financing for the complex.
The Dallas real estate investor who owns the 500-acre site said five unidentified investor groups have expressed interest in the project over the last two months.
Proponents of the project said so far they have spent a total of $30 million, including the bond proceeds, on land purchases, site preparation, and design work.