Nara Dreamland, the long-since closed amusement park modelled after California’s Disneyland, was purchased by an Osaka-based real estate company earlier this month for 730 million Yen (5.95 million USD). The buyer, SK Housing, was the only bidder at the public auction. It is unclear what the new owner plans to do with the site.
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.
The foreclosed Nara Dreamland amusement park in Nara City failed to attract a single bid when it was put up for public auction on November 11. The 297,000 sqm site was listed for sale with a minimum price of 730 million Yen (6.3 million USD). Although ten inquiries were received, no bids were made.
With a minimum price of around 2,400 Yen per square meter, this might seem like an exceptional bargain when compared to the surrounding area, but the park is dotted with a number of overgrown and unsafe structures and rides which would require several hundred million Yen to remove.
The land is also subject to a number of strict building regulations that make redevelopment a difficult task. The land falls in an Urbanisation Control Area and current uses only permit welfare, sports, museum, zoo or school facilities. Approval from the prefectural governor is required before construction.
Housing, commercial, retail or hot spring development is not allowed. It is also within two kilometres of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Todai-ji temple and Kofuku-ji temple), which means the land is designated as a scenic and conservation zone under the Act for the Preservation of Ancient Capitals. As a result, building heights are limited to 10 meters, while building-to-land ratios are limited to 30%. Nara’s mayor said the city has no intention to provide any allowances on the construction regulations.
Before Tokyo Disneyland there was Nara Dreamland – a Disney-themed park in Nara Prefecture that closed in 2006 and has since become a popular spot for urban explorers. Due to unpaid property taxes, Nara City is planning to put the property up for public auction soon.
Nara Dreamland was opened in 1961 by Nihon Dream Kanko. After meeting with Walt Disney at California’s Disneyland Park, Nihon Dream’s president Kunizo Matsuo expressed a desire to build a similar theme park in West Japan to cater to Japanese. Disney was apparently okay with this idea and sent some experts to Japan to advise on park design. While Nihon Dream claimed to have a franchise agreement in place, Disney later denied any official affiliation as they could not come to an agreement on franchise fees.