A grand redevelopment could be in the works for what was once one of the most iconic theaters in Missouri’s biggest tourist destination, Branson.
Thursday the Branson Board of Alderman heard a presentation from developers who want to convert the 4,000 seat Grand Palace theater into an aquarium.
If approved, the site will be home to the new 46-thousand square foot, “Aquarium at the Boardwalk.”
The project will be done in phases, by Kuvera Partners out of California. The company purchased the palace four years ago. They also own and operate Branson’s Hollywood Wax Museum.
Tej Sundher, a developer with the company says only the first phase will be done using tax increment financing — or TIF.
“So we are fully funded if TIF is approved to move forward right away, ” said Sundher.
“So we listened through the last process of TIF – and one of the biggest concerns..and understandably so — is that our neighboring business would get displaced by the aquarium,” Sundher said.
He says Kuvera hired a marketing firm to address those concerns.
“We hired H2R to do a study to see what would be the impact of an Aquarium come in here. We were very pleased that by bringing an aquarium. there would be some displacement. But all of that would be replaced by additional people we brought into Branson. Through either extended stay, coming more often or new customers that we talked about before,” said Sundher.
The Kuvera development in Branson would be different from large aquariums that have become destination spots according to Sundler
“We’re going to bring different things, we’re really going to focus on fun interactiveness. His is wondrous with beautiful big tanks. Ours is going to fun and exciting for toddlers to parents,” Sundher said.
The city of Branson has hired a consultant firm to help them make the best decision.
“One of the preliminary funding agreements is that we would pay for consultants through the city for them to be able to do that kind of research so that the city of Branson wasn’t footing any of that bill,” said Sundher.
They hope to have the project completed by March of 2020.
Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV contributed this report