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October 16, 2021
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Balboa Fun Zone Lands in Chartwell Real Estate Development’s Acquisition Zone


In the sale of a unique SoCal property, Chartwell Real Estate Development has acquired the Balboa Fun Zone mixed-use entertainment development in Newport Beach. The asset was sold by Discovery Cube, the SoCal-based children's science museum. The price was not disclosed.

The new owners are longtime residents of Newport Beach and plan to restore the historic landmark and continue to operate the property as the Balboa Fun Zone. One of Southern California’s oldest amusement parks, Balboa Fun Zone’s history dates back to the early 1900s born from an old boat yard owned by Fred Lewis.

Located at 600 E Bay Ave along the Balboa Harbor adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, the 34.2k sf (0.785-acre) property offers 212 feet of waterfront and presently consists of: a boardwalk (Edgewater Place) with the Balboa Ferris Wheel, ±25 boat marina with 775 linear feet of docking, Fun Zone amusement park rides and attractions, 16.7k sf of mixed-use improvements, and a 58-stall subterranean parking garage.

A Cushman & Wakefield team led by Valuation & Advisory specialist Lars Platt, MAI, CCIM partnered with Retail Investment Sales & Strategic Leasing specialists Joseph Lising and Matthew Godman of the firm’s local Irvine office represented Discovery Cube in facilitating the complex sale. Bob Thagard, also of Cushman & Wakefield, advised the buyer.

“The Fun Zone had not been actively marketed for sale for many decades, and therefore this offering was a true once-in-a-generation investment opportunity to own a piece of Southern California’s storied history,” said Platt. “There is tremendous potential to create future value of this special property situated in one of the most prestigious areas of the world and that contains so many irreplaceable attributes.”

The Museum announced its decision to sell the Balboa Fun Zone in December of 2020 as a result of Covid-19 related financial constraints and sought a new owner who appreciates the history and significance of the beloved property, for not only local residents, but all who visit the Fun Zone every year growing up with cherished family memories.

The Balboa Village is situated adjacent to world class developments and attractions including Lido Marina Village, Lido House, Newport Beach, and Balboa Pier draws approximately three million visitors annually with world class beaches, sailing, sport fishing, whale watching, and The Catalina Flyer. The Balboa Island Ferry connects the community and the Fun Zone property providing a unique service that runs as a main appeal to tourists from around the world and has been in operation since 1919.

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