Here's a follow-up article from today's online Virginia Gazette.Busch Gardens cans proposed Madrid attraction
Busch Gardens has pulled the plug on the proposed Busch Gardens Madrid attraction.
Though Busch Gardens secured a height wavier for the Madrid attraction in August 2017, whatever plans were in the works for the project have been trashed, though it’s not clear why or when.
Suzy Cheely, the park’s senior leader for design and engineering, noted Madrid’s defunct status during a discussion about a height waiver for a different Busch Gardens project at a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.
“The Madrid project never came to fruition. We instead have put in a request for a different project. The tallest that would be is 180 feet,” she said when a supervisor inquired about the project. “It’s actually a lot less than what it would have been had the Madrid project gone through.”
Cheely said the building and site plan approvals had been secured for that new project. She didn’t elaborate on what that project would be.
County planning director Paul Holt confirmed those documents were approved by the county, adding the planning department isn’t kept in the loop regarding the finer details of Busch Gardens’ projects and only knows enough to ensure their construction adheres to county policy. He didn’t immediately know on Wednesday when the approval happened, and Cheely didn’t mention a date either.
“They went with something else that was a little lower,” he said.
The Madrid height waiver application Busch Gardens submitted for the board’s approval requested permission to build an attraction of up to 315 feet from finished grade. Supervisors unanimously approved that request.
Structures taller than 60 feet need a waiver from the board to clear the way to construction.
Madrid was intended to be built near the Italy section of the park, and the attraction was described as a “lattice-type structure,” in a staff report.
“Lattice” is also how Cheely also described the “tall, slender structure” that requires the height wavier considered on Tuesday.
The board voted 4-1 to defer a decision on a new height wavier until June 11, owing to criticism of the project by Kingsmill residents, who said Busch Gardens hasn’t done enough to inform them of the project or study its impacts.
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment LLC, which owns Busch Gardens, requested a height waiver for a project not to exceed 355 feet in height above finished grade, or 435 feet above sea level Tuesday. The attraction associated with the new height wavier would be located in the center of the park.
As might be expected with Busch Gardens, which keeps details of new attractions under wraps for competitive reasons, it’s unclear exactly what happened to Madrid.
Cheely didn’t offer any reason for why Madrid was nixed, or when that decision was made. Her comments appear to be the first time a Busch Gardens official has publicly noted Madrid’s status.
A Busch Gardens spokeswoman didn’t respond to further questions about Madrid on Wednesday.