Nara City is putting the foreclosed ‘Nara Dreamland’ amusement park up for sale for a second time. The minimum price is again set at 730 million Yen, and bidding is open for 20 minutes on November 10, 2015.
The park was first put up for auction in November 2014 with the same minimum price. No bids were made. Despite the lack of buyer interest last year, the city still believes the site offers a convenient location and are not adjusting the price downwards.
However, the 297,000 sqm (3.2 million sq.ft) site is littered with old and abandoned theme park rides and unsafe buildings, which would require several hundred million Yen to remove.
The land is also subject to several strict building regulations which severely limit possible redevelopment uses. Current uses only permit welfare, libraries, sports, museum, zoo or school facilities, and approval from the prefectural governor is required before construction can start. Residential, commercial, retail or hotel developments are not permitted. Building height limits are 10 meters. The Nara Mayor indicated that the city has no intention of providing any special zoning allowances.
Nara foreclosed on the property in 2013 after the previous owner fell behind in property taxes, owing approximately 650 million Yen.
The Nara Dreamland park opened in 1961. It was modelled on California’s Disneyland Park, possibly with initial cooperation from Disney, although this was later denied. The park attracted as many as 1.6 million visitors a year at its peak, but numbers began to fall after the opening of Tokyo Disneyland and Osaka’s Universal Studios. Annual visitor numbers had dropped to 400,000 before its closure in 2006.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, September 30, 2015.
The Nara Newspaper, September 30, 2015.
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