Bison World, previously referred to as Buffalo City Park, is a proposed entertainment park in Jamestown, located on land currently owned by the state of North Dakota.
According to a report from third-party financial firm Eide Bailly, conducted under contract with the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp (JSDC), the project would be good for the region (via The Jamestown Sun).
The development is estimated to cost around $60 million. Investment will come from the Legacy Fund in North Dakota, repaid with interest from the operating profits of Bison World.
“Nearly all of the projected financial benefits will flow back to the state as Legacy Fund earnings or taxes into the general fund if the investment is made from the state’s $8.7 billion Legacy Fund,” said Connie Ova, CEO of the JSDC.
Bison World estimated to open in 2024
If funding and financing are organised by this autumn, construction on Bison World would start in spring 2022, with an estimated opening date scheduled for April 2024.
The Eide Baily report used a forecasted attendance of 197,300 visitors in the first year of operation (2024), increasing to to 259,500 guests by 2028.
“I don’t have much doubt we’ll do better than that,” said Bob McTyre, project designer for Apogee Attractions, which used an estimate of 318,000 visitors in its internal calculations.
The financial report also calculated profitability, with a net income in Bison World’s first year of operation ranging from $2m to $2.7m. “The average annual return would be between $6.8m and $7.3m or 11 percent,” Ova said.
$60m theme park in North Dakota
Bison World would be located adjacent to the National Bison Museum. It would include a hotel, buffalo-themed restaurant, rides, entertainment, and a 1,500-seat Buffalo City Amphitheatre.
The attraction would operate seasonally to begin with. It would transition to year-round operations if a hotel is added to the site, according to Brian Lunde, an advocate for Bison World.
The report indicates an average ticket price of $22 per person, with ticket sales estimated to generate $4.3m in the first year of operation and $6.3m by 2028.
Bison World could employ up to 400 people. “This is a big industry,” McTyre said. “If we build it, we can bring people into the area to work.”
Images: Apogee Attractions