Balboa Fun Zone sold to Costa Mesa real estate agency

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Balboa Entertainment Zone is now in a new owner.

Discovery Cube, the non-profit organization that oversees the children’s museum and science centers in Santa Ana and Silmar, announced on Tuesday that it intends to sell the Balboa Fun Zone property, where its maritime education institution is located. Ocean quest, located – to the Costa Mesa real estate agency Chartwell Real Estate Development.

The museum originally announced its intention to sell the property last December due to the financial impact of COVID-19. Henry Pyle, an operating partner at Chartwell, said the firm made an offer almost immediately after it was announced that the Discovery Cube was looking for buyers.

Pyle, who oversaw the acquisition on behalf of the Pyle family, said in an interview Wednesday that the decision was a personal one.

“IN [Balboa] The Fun Zone is definitely one of the most iconic landmarks in Newport Beach and of course Newport Harbor, ”Pyle said. “My father grew up in the 1960s on Balboa Island, went to the Fun Zone. Then I grew up on Balboa Island … in the 90s. “

“This is an incredibly special place in our hearts and incredible historical significance to the city of Newport Beach,” Pyle said.

Visitors to the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach on Wednesday.

Visitors to the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach on Wednesday. The owners intend to sell the property.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“We’ve really just jumped at the opportunity to take part in such an iconic attraction, and we really look forward to being good custodians of the Balboa Fun Zone heritage,” he added.

IN Balboa Entertainment Zone was built in 1936 by Al Anderson in an old shipyard and has since changed hands. Visit Newport Beach, the city’s tourist destination, describes it as one of the oldest and “last major coastal entertainment areas” in Southern California.

Anderson later sold the property in 1972. It was then sold to Jordan Vank in 1985 after changing hands between lending institutions. Wank then bulldozed the old Balboa Entertainment Zone and by 1986 had rebuilt it into what currently stands on the Balboa Peninsula, according to the Balboa Fun Zone website.

In 1994 it changed hands again to Balboa Fun Zone Rides, Inc. before being acquired by the Newport Harbor Maritime Museum in 2005. purchased property after merging with local non-profit organization ExplorOcean in 2016.

“Selling the Fun Zone was a difficult decision for the museum, but we are fortunate enough to partner with Chartwell and the Pyle family, who value the historical elements of the Fun Zone and strive to breathe new life into this iconic local landmark,” Discovery said. Cube CEO Joe Adams in a statement.

Visitors to the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach on Wednesday.

Visitors to the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach on Wednesday.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

The deal is expected to close later in the coming months, and details of the final property price have not been confirmed to the press as of Wednesday. However, officials from both organizations have confirmed that the Balboa Fun Zone will continue operating this summer following a change of ownership.

As part of the agreement, the real estate company is allowing the Discovery Cube offshore training vessel, Dylan Ayres, to continue docking at the Balboa Fun Zone.

Pyle said future plans for the block-long waterfront site are still in the works for potential future improvements, but the family intends to preserve Balboa’s entertainment area while trying to renovate and breathe new life into the area where possible.

Pyle said he felt both Chartwell and the Pyle family were honored to receive this next chapter in Fun Zone history.

“When we look at properties in our backyard like this and in the places where we grew up, they are just very important to us in their essence, as a kind of local, iconic landmarks … we truly believe that it can be environmentally friendly and a great hotel, just being an entertainment area, ”Pyle said Wednesday.

Discovery Cube on Tuesday announced the sale of Discovery Cube's Ocean Quest facility.

Discovery Cube on Tuesday announced the sale of Discovery Cube’s Ocean Quest, Chartwell Real Estate Development’s iconic Balboa Fun Zone.

(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

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