Branson Board of Aldermen Vote in Favor of TIF for Aquarium Project
The Board of Aldermen has voted unanimously to approve Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the proposed Aquarium at the Boardwalk. If the TIF ordinances are formally adopted during the Board’s second reading on Tuesday, Feb. 26, Kuvera Partners will be able to move forward with building a 46,000-square-foot aquarium at the Northwest corner of the long-vacant Grand Palace property (2700 West 76 Country Boulevard).
Kuvera, through its affiliated entity Branson Entertainment Center – Branson, LLC, plans to finance the $51M project with $15M (29.4%) of its own equity, $29M (56.9%) in debt equity, and $7M (13.7%) in TIF assistance. The TIF funds would be provided only as reimbursement for qualifying expenses after the Aquarium is open and generating revenue.
“If TIF is approved, we’re ready to go,” says Partner Tej Sundher. “The remaining financing is in place, and we’ve been doing everything possible to break ground for the project right away.”
Aquarium at the Boardwalk is being designed to focus on fish and fun, taking guests on an undersea adventure to explore, play, and capture great photos, along with enjoying spectacular views of a wide variety of sea animals. If final TIF approval is granted at the end of February, the attraction is slated to open in Spring 2020.
The aquarium is not only expected to bring new visitors to Branson, but also to serve as the catalyst for additional development at the site over the next ten years, according to Kuvera, who is also the owner/operator of the Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center and has been a stakeholder in Branson for 23 years. The company will not seek additional TIF funding for future phases.
“We are thrilled to be this close to having the opportunity to clean up the Grand Palace property and create an exciting, thriving attraction that aligns with the City’s vision for this key entertainment zone,” says Sundher. “Working with the City of Branson’s staff through this process has been tremendous. We’ve been continually impressed with their thorough approach and open communication with us, leading to a TIF agreement that is a real win-win.”
Kuvera Partners has been working on design and planning with St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations, a firm with deep expertise in aquariums. For over 50 years, PGAV has been designing world class zoo and aquarium exhibits for notable institutions such as Georgia Aquarium, SeaWorld, and Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, China, some of the world’s largest aquariums.
For more information about the proposed Aquarium at the Boardwalk, or to be placed on a distribution list for updates, visit www.www.aquariumattheboardwalk.com.