Branson’s Ride the Ducks offers a second exciting adventure – New at Branson Landing!

There is big news in Branson as Ride The Ducks opens a second Quack-tacular adventure with another choice for this fun-filled amphibious sightseeing tour. Now, the New Branson Landing Adventure is ready to take guests on a 60-minute tour that rides through historic Downtown Branson and then splashes into Lake Taneycomo to cruise the lake. This new adventure departs from the duck dock at Branson Landing’s Neighborhood District near the Arvest Bank.

Of course, the ever-popular Classic Table Rock Lake Adventure is continuing and this 70-minute adventure includes Country Music Blvd., home to the Branson shows, Baird Mountain with fantastic views of the Ozarks and then a splashdown into Table Rock Lake for a cruise. This adventure departs from the duck dock at 2320 Country Music Blvd., just west of Wal-mart.

Ride The Ducks, the nation’s largest amphibious sightseeing company, offers the most unique land and water adventure that is fun, informative and engaging. It’s the best way for families to enjoy Branson because there is a combination of fun and music with history and sights.

The captains add to the tour experience as they entertain guests with interesting facts of the city. Besides sharing information, guests enjoy the music that’s played on the Ducks and the captain’s funny stories and jokes. The captains are licensed by the United States Coast Guard, and have a natural love of Branson and the Ozarks that shines through in their presentation and humor. Also included in every tour is the famous Wacky Quackerstm (the duck-bill whistle) that is sure to capture the attention of the people on the street.

Aaron Newberry, Ride The Ducks’ Branson general manager, says, “We are excited about the opportunities we offer residents and visitors to explore a second Ride The Ducks adventure in Branson. With so many requests from our guests to expand our Duck tours, we created this new tour to meet their demands. Our family friendly tours only get better from year to year as we continue to keep everyone of all ages entertained and educated about this amazing area”.

The Ride The Ducks amphibious vehicle is based on the famous WWII DUKW amphibious design. Today, we build our vehicles from the ground up using the latest in marine design and safety. The vehicles are United States Coast Guard certified and tested regularly to ensure a safe and comfortable tour for our guests.

Ride The Ducks International, the largest amphibious sightseeing company in America, has entertained millions of guests in the United States since the early 1970’s. Ride The Ducks has wholly owned operations in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Branson and Memphis and licensed operators in Seattle and Stone Mountain Park, Georgia. Ride The Ducks International is a subsidiary of Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE). HFE owns numerous entertainment venues, including Silver Dollar City theme park, Showboat Branson Belle, and Celebration City in Branson, MO.

Comments Off on Branson’s Ride the Ducks offers a second exciting adventure – New at Branson Landing!

Branson Landing becomes reality with groundbreaking on Saturday

The stage is literally set for the Saturday high noon groundbreaking of Branson Landing, the biggest development in Branson’s history.

City officials anticipate close to 500 people attending the ceremony hosted by nationally known entertainer Andy Williams with Missouri Governor Bob Holden the featured speaker.

The festivities begin at 11 a.m. with music, complimentary refreshments for the public, and watercraft entertainment on Lake Taneycomo followed by the groundbreaking ceremony. A unique live performance takes place during the ceremony that will mystify the audience.

The public is encouraged to bring a rug or folding chair to watch the show. It will be the last chance to picnic on the lakefront until the project opens in March 2006.

The actual turning of the dirt at the conclusion of the ceremony will include more than just dignitaries with shovels.

“Branson Landing is a special project for Branson and we wanted to make the groundbreaking just as special and memorable for the citizens of our community,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ron Huff. “We have appreciated their support of our development, and now it’s time to celebrate the start of construction.”

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place on the site of the former Sammy Lane Resort just south of Main Street at the lakefront. Public parking will be located on the south end of the Sammy Lane property next to the city campground. VIP parking is located on the vacant land bounded by Main, Atlantic, Boxcar Willie and Lake Street. Signs and police officers will direct visitors to the parking areas, and attendants will assist motorists to their parking spaces.

Starting Monday, May 17, safety fencing will be installed around the Branson Landing property, and crews and equipment begin moving in to start construction. The Branson Landing development and construction team, headed by primary developer HCW Development Company of Branson, is comprised of nationally recognized and experienced firms.

Urban Retail Properties of Chicago, the nation’s leading and most successful third party management company, is undertaking leasing and management of the project.

The completed Branson Landing project comprises:

• $300 Million Project
• 95 acres of downtown waterfront land
• Situated Between US 65 and Lake Taneycomo, adjacent to historic downtown Branson·
• Banson Landing shopping, restaurant, and entertainment complex will occupy 1.5 miles of waterfront on Lake Taneycomo.
• The site, walking distance from the edge of Branson’s entertainment district, will include 500,000 sq ft of retail space (over 100 shops) and several marinas ?
• Bass Pro Shops of Springfield, MO will build a 40,000-60,000 square foot retail store and marina on the waterfront
• Belk Inc of North Carolina will build up to 82,000 square foot fashion department store
• The esplanade will be lined with retail space tiered up from the lake and in an outdoor mall/promenade style
• A new town square on the waters edge will link to a winding north-south running boardwalk along the shoreline. The public town square will be large enough to accommodate 5,000 people for festivals, musical events and other outdoor activities.
• Brand-name tenants will be mixed with galleries and shops offering regional arts and crafts, as well as specialty retailers
• A cross section of eateries — from large themed restaurants to intimate cafes and kiosks.
• 4,000 parking spaces
• 140+ condominiums
• Boutique hotel with 100 rooms
• Nightly music, light and water events, and a rolling schedule of activities, festivals and promotions, will keep visitors entertained throughout their visit.
• Regional convention center totaling 220,000 sq ft
• 56,000 sq ft of leasable exhibition space
• 20,000 sq ft ballroom/banquet space
• 32,000 sq ft meeting space and business center
• The Great Hall exhibit center will fit as many as 6,500 people
• The Ballroom will fit 2,500 people and is divisible into 3 rooms holding 800 people each
• 260 room convention center hotel with indoor/outdoor restaurant/café and views of Lake Taneycomo

Comments Off on Branson Landing becomes reality with groundbreaking on Saturday

Surprises galore planned for Branson’s biggest groundbreaking

Tapping into the wealth of talent and creativity in the Branson entertainment industry, organizers are putting the finishing touches on a groundbreaking unlike any other in Missouri.

It all comes together on Saturday, May 15, at 12 noon along Lake Taneycomo in downtown Branson as shovels turn the dirt signifying the start of construction on the spectacular Branson Landing project.

Internationally known entertainer Andy Williams serves as master of ceremonies for the event that features Missouri Governor Bob Holden as guest speaker, unique performances never before seen in Branson and a dazzling groundbreaking.

More than 500 dignitaries from throughout the state and Washington D.C. have been invited to the ceremony.

“It’s not your typical three shovels and a pot of coffee groundbreaking,” said Rick Huffman of HCW, the primary developer of the Branson Landing project. ” People will leave this event saying ‘How’d they do that?’ Adding to the festivities will be the Branson High School Jazz Band, a giant video monitor updating spectators on the Landing project and televising the ceremony, and a hospitality tent with free snacks and beverages.

Branson Landing consists of a convention center, hotels, condos and retail shopping situated on over a mile of waterfront land adjacent to downtown Branson and about one mile from the popular Highway 76 strip featuring entertainment, theaters and a variety of family attractions. It will be the largest development in Branson’s history that not only develops the lakefront, but also brings a convention/exhibition center to Branson.

On Monday, May 17, heavy equipment begins moving into the Landing property along the waterfront to begin construction on the development. Branson Landing will open in phases through 2007. The retail opens in Spring 2006 and the convention center begins hosting groups in early 2007.

Comments Off on Surprises galore planned for Branson’s biggest groundbreaking

Branson Landing update

Construction on the Branson Landing development is now underway. The area has been fenced off and work started on the infrastructure like new water and sewer lines and roads. Grading of the property begins in July and the first buildings will start to go up in October. A completion date has tentatively been set for April 2006.

The Board of Aldermen has approved an agreement with Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates Inc of Atlanta to design the convention center and parking deck portion of the Branson Landing project.

Request for Proposal (RFP) to manage the new convention center will be sent out by the city in July, and firms interested in managing the center are encouraged to submit a proposal. To obtain an RFP outlining the scope of services, contact Branson City hall.

The Board of Aldermen has approved a resolution authorizing the city administrator to proceed with structuring a bond sale to purchase 12 acres along Sycamore Street on which the convention center and convention center hotel would be constructed. The bonds will be used to purchase the convention center land and fund public infrastructure like the boardwalk along Lake Taneycomo, the bridge over Roark Creek, the widening of Boxcar Willie Drive, and the town square on the lake.

The proposed convention/exhibition center features a 55,000 sq ft exhibition hall, a 20,000 sq ft ballroom/multi-purpose area, and 32,000 sq ft of meeting space.

HCW Development Inc, the primary developer of Branson Landing, has announced two major anchor stores for the project. Bass Pro of Springfield has signed an agreement to build a 40,000-60,000 square foot store on the south end of the retail development that features a marina where customers can test drive new watercrafts. And Belk Inc of North Carolina plans to build a 66,000 square foot department store that offers name brand clothing, shoes, cosmetics and home merchandise at the north end of Branson Landing.

The retail portion of Branson Landing along the lakefront includes a total of 465,000 sq ft of retail space. In addition to the Bass Pro and Belk anchor stores, there will be 75,000 sq ft of sit-down restaurants, 200,000 sq ft of specialty retailers, and 65,000 sq ft of other entertainment venues.

HCW continues negotiations with other nationally recognized specialty retailers and restaurants for a Branson Landing address.

Other aspects of the Landing include a curving boardwalk along Lake Taneycomo, a 2 1⁄2 acre town square with a 1,500 seat amphitheater, and a towering, lighted water fountain featuring gyrating jet streams and fireballs.

HCW plans to refurbish the Lake Queen paddleboat and make it an attraction of the Landing. The lake Queen will again offer excursions up and down Lake Taneycomo.

The city has purchased the convenience store property at the southeast corner of Parnell and Business U.S. 65 where an intersection will be constructed connecting the extension of Boxcar Willie Drive and the new bridge over Roark Creek with Business 65. Condemnation proceedings have been completed with the motel property east of the convenience store and demolition procedures are underway.

Construction of the four-lane bridge over Roark Creek that will provide convenient access to Branson Landing and the new intersection at Skaggs Road and Business 65 is expected to begin this summer. Later, Boxcar Willie Drive will be widened to five lanes from the new bridge to the Branson Lakeside RV Park.

The Phase 2 downtown traffic study continues. This study examines the total downtown traffic situation including existing traffic and future traffic with the completion of the Branson Landing development, and determines what improvements need to be made in streets and intersections.

Comments Off on Branson Landing update

Groundbreaking set for Branson Landing

The city of Branson and HCW Development have announced that on Saturday, May 15, 2004 at 12 noon, the official groundbreaking for the Branson Landing development will be held on the Taneycomo Lakefront.

Missouri Governor Bob Holden has been invited to attend and speak at this historical event. Governor Holden approved and signed the city of Branson’s state TIF (Tax Increment Financing) application for the Branson Landing development.

Branson Landing consists of a retail shopping and convention center situated on over a mile of waterfront land adjacent to downtown Branson and about one mile from the popular Highway 76 strip featuring entertainment, theaters and a variety of family attractions.

“We’ve been working hard for the past two years to bring this waterfront development to reality,” said Mayor Lou Schaefer. “It’s now arrived on schedule, and I am extremely proud of this community for making the project move forward. “This is the largest development in Branson’s history that not only develops the lakefront, but also finally brings a convention center to Branson. People will now begin seeing construction activity on the lakefront.”

Two major anchors have already been secured for Branson Landing – Bass Pro Shops and Belk Department Store.

“The opening of Branson landing will add an entirely new dimension to the Branson experience,” said Schaefer. “It expands our ability to reach new and different markets and offers a significant new reason to travel to Branson.”

The retail development is scheduled to open in 2006 with the convention center and convention center hotel ready to host meetings in 2007.

Comments Off on Groundbreaking set for Branson Landing

Belk to open fashion department store at Branson Landing

Belk will enter the Missouri market in spring 2006 with a new 66,000-square-foot fashion department store at Branson Landing, in Branson, Mo., pending negotiation and signing of a final lease. The Belk, Inc. Board of Directors passed a resolution approving the new store on March 10.

“Branson is a wonderful community and we’re excited to announce the opening of our first Missouri store at Branson Landing,” said Linda Zwern, chairman of Belk’s Western Division based in Greenville, S.C. “The store’s layout, decor and merchandise selections will be designed especially to meet the shopping needs of customers in this area. Belk has an outstanding reputation for providing customers with the best in fashion, value, quality and prompt friendly service and we look forward to continuing this tradition in Branson.”

The new store will offer leading brands of fashion apparel, accessories, shoes, cosmetics and home merchandise, including exclusive Belk private brands. Each department will feature a unique décor and fixtures that enhance merchandise presentation. The store will also offer a variety of Belk customer services, such as a gift registry, gift-wrapping, alterations, Great Gifts cards and Belk revolving and interest-free charge accounts. Developer Rick Huffman of HCW Development Company said, “We are delighted to be able to welcome such an exceptional, well-respected department store to Branson Landing. Belk has an incredible history, combined with a successful track record, and the Branson community is eager for this store to open. This quality first-class shopping addition will reinforce our appeal to Branson’s newer demographic of younger and more affluent customers.”

Urban Retail Properties Co., the nation’s leading retail property management firm, is leasing and will manage Branson Landing. “The merchandise strategy at Branson Landing is to offer a unique shopping and dining experience in a beautiful, waterfront setting and Belk is a perfect fit for the project,” said Ross B. Glickman, CEO of Urban Retail.

Comments Off on Belk to open fashion department store at Branson Landing

Branson Landing announces waterfront Bass Pro Shops store

Branson, the live entertainment capital of the world and a world class fishing destination, is about to be the new location for one of America’s favorite sporting goods stores – Bass Pro Shops.

In a joint announcement today, Bass Pro Shops officials, Branson Mayor Lou Schaeffer and Branson Landing developer, Rick Huffman announced an agreement has been signed for the Branson Bass Pro Shops to open at the Landing in March 2006.

Developer Rick Huffman of HCW Development Company said today “We are delighted to have Bass Pro Shops as one of the major retail anchors of our Branson Landing waterfront development. Bass Pro Shops stores are unique destination retail locations.”

The Branson store will range between 40,000 and 60,000 sq. ft. in contrast to the 300,000 sq. ft. headquarters store in Springfield. It will feature an operating marina, guide service, boat rental and boat service center. The Branson store will be patterned after Bass Pro Shops Worldwide Sportsman store in Islamorada, FL which also features a waterfront location and is one of the top tourist destinations in the Florida Keys. This store will highlight the rich fishing heritage of the White River area and display historical photos, artifacts, record mounts and a tribute to Jim Owens and other long-time fishing legends.

The unique position of their newest store on the shores of Lake Taneycomo will also allow Bass Pro Shops to showcase their wide range of boats in a real time waterfront experience. It will create unique opportunities for customers to test drive the full range of Tracker, Nitro and Sun Tracker boats.

Lou Schaeffer was pleased to welcome Bass Pro Shops to his city. Mayor Schaeffer said “I have known Johnny Morris and his late father, John A., for most of the 52 years I have lived in Branson, and Lake Taneycomo means as much to the Morris family as it does to me and the rest of the Branson community.

To have a Bass Pro Shops store and marina as part of our waterfront development on Lake Taneycomo, will be a great asset for our visitors and residents alike.”

“We are very much committed to the Branson market and fishing in the Ozarks. This store continues that commitment. It is our feeling that this unique specialty store will compliment our store in Springfield which is Missouri’s #1 tourist attraction,” stated Bass Pro Shops President Jim Hagale. “The integrated waterfront marina at the Branson store will give a unique experience to our customers. It is our hope that the Branson store will introduce more people to fishing and the water resources that make this part of the country so special.”

Rick Huffman said that the ground breaking for the Branson Landing Development would be announced soon.

Comments Off on Branson Landing announces waterfront Bass Pro Shops store

Study predicts success for convention center hotel

A 260 room hotel adjacent to the proposed downtown convention center would be financially successful according to a study by HVS International of Chicago.

HVS presented its findings at a pubic meeting of the Branson Board of Aldermen Monday evening. This was the third major study of various aspects of the proposed Branson Landing and convention center developments.

HVS said in its first year of operation in 2006/2007, the convention center hotel would have a 49% occupancy rate with average room rates of $134. By its fourth year of operation, the hotel would enjoy 65% occupancy with an average room rate of almost $134.

Net income of the hotel the first year was projected to be $1.4 million and then by the fourth year, the income increases to $3.5 million. The study examined 16 comparable hotels including several high-end properties in Branson and Lake of the Ozarks.

The study said high-end hotels could see some initial loss of business, but average price hotels would not be affected. The overflow from large conventions, 1,000 attendees or more, would benefit other local hotels. The convention center will be the largest meeting facility in the city with a 55,000 square foot exhibition hall, a 20,000 square foot ballroom and 22,000 square feet of meeting space.

The study noted some Branson hotels close during the first three months of the year as a result of the area’s entertainment shows being on hiatus and thereby lower occupancy levels for the year. However, the convention center hotel will remain open for all 12 months and will utilize its meeting space and the convention center space to help buffer those off-season periods.

In addition to the convention center hotel, other lodging facilities in Branson Landing include a 120-room boutique hotel along the lakefront and 75 condominiums – some above retail stores and others on the upper floors of the convention center hotel — to be used for nightly rentals.

The HVS study also suggested that both hotel and convention center be under the same management resulting in a reduction of expenses and about a 4% increase in annual profits. 

Comments Off on Study predicts success for convention center hotel

Aldermen approve major lease with Landing developer

The Branson Board of Aldermen approved, at its October 27 regular meeting, a long-term master lease agreement with HCW Development of Branson, developer of the Branson Landing project. The term of the lease is 99 years.

The lease takes effect when the city has closed on the financing for the convention center and other public improvements that total about $100 million. Those improvements include a boardwalk along Lake Taneycomo, a town square on the waterfront, utilities and streets.

Under the lease agreement, if the city decides not to build the convention center, HCW Development can elect to continue with the private project that includes the commercial and retail district.

Aldermen also approved a Technical Services Contract that requires HCW to obtain a commitment of at least $60 million in private financing for the Landing development by April 15, 2004. However, city officials can extend that deadline.

The approval of the lease agreement will expedite negotiations between HCW and prospective tenants for the project. HCW had said earlier it has commitments for about a third of the 300,000 square feet of retail space in the project, but some major tenants were unwilling to announce their plans until the Board of Aldermen approved the Master Lease, Technical Services Contract, and Redevelopment Contract.

Branson Mayor Lou Schaefer said the aldermen’s favorable vote on these contracts October 27 should show everyone the city’s commitment in this development.

Comments Off on Aldermen approve major lease with Landing developer

Convention center at Branson Landing to attract meeting-goers

Branson, in southwest Missouri, will soon be moving toward the top meeting planners’ lists as a first-class convention destination with the city’s recent approval for Branson Landing, an enormous new downtown lakefront development. The mixed-use complex will feature a multi-purpose convention center with adjoining hotel and an 80-acre retail shopping and restaurant district – all situated on Branson’s scenic Lake Taneycomo.

The retail component will open in spring 2005, the convention center and hotel in fall 2005.

The $300-million project, which is being undertaken by HCW Development Company and the City of Branson, will be situated between U.S. 65 and the lake, adjacent to Branson’s historic downtown district, and less than a mile from Branson’s immensely popular tourist area. Branson Landing will be easily accessible from U.S. 65.

The planned Branson Regional Convention Center is a 220,000-square-foot facility with 60,000 square feet of leasable exhibition space, 20,000 square feet for ballrooms/banquet rooms, and 15,000 square feet of meeting space on two floors. The balance of the total area is allotted to pre-function use, a business center, lobbies, and function services such as catering and laundry.

The Great Hall exhibit center will be suitable for virtually any type of large-scale gathering, from trade shows to association meetings, concerts, and banquets thanks to modular elements that will allow the space to be incrementally downsized.

The Great Hall’s features include:
• A 35-foot-high ceiling, five feet higher than industry standard;
• Overhead electrical outlet boxes on a 90-foot grid;
• Floor-boxed utilities, including fiber optics, on a 30-foot grid;
• Public address system and mobile stage;
• Restrooms that can be reconfigured for each event’s male/female occupant ratios;
• Ten loading dock spaces;
• Drive-on accessibility to the exhibit floor.

Up to 2,500 people will fit into the facility’s plenary hall, which is divisible into three rooms accommodating 800 people each.

A 300-room tower hotel, indoor/outdoor restaurant, and a café will be onsite, all offering pastoral views of Lake Taneycomo.

“Our convention center will provide meeting and conference planners an exciting, meetings-friendly venue in a destination that will be popular with both meeting attendees and their families. The destination alone will serve as a reason to attend a gathering,” said Rick Huffman, principal for HCW, the site’s developer.

“For Branson, the convention center opens up an entirely new market. Annual spending on meetings and conventions is over $40 billion. This meeting center is the logical next step to extend Branson’s existing tourist appeal to the convention trade,” Huffman said.

Owned property surrounding the convention center site is available for future development as Branson’s business-travel trade grows, and the facility has been designed with expansion in mind. The architecture will accommodate the addition of 200,000 square feet of exhibition space.

The 1.5-mile-long waterfront entertainment complex will feature themed areas where shoppers can stroll through a variety of surroundings that will each have the feel of an intimate, unique village. A winding walkway will guide visitors along the Lake Taneycomo waterfront and through intimate settings where the architecture, décor, and music will give each setting its own unique personality.

The Downtown Waterfront Development at Branson is a public/private venture between HCW Development Company and the City of Branson. HCW will manage all of the facilities under a 99-year lease agreement with the city.

To round out its world-class development and management team, HCW Development Company has awarded a development consulting and management contract to Urban Retail Properties Co., the nation’s leading third-party management company. “Urban Retail has developed and managed the nation’s most powerful mixed-use shopping destinations in cities such as Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and Houston,” said Rick Graf, Development Director for HCW, “and we wanted to bring their unmatched expertise in developing unique retail environments to Branson Landing.”

HCW has invested more than $200 million in Branson-area development during the past 10 years, including Grandvista’s The Woods Resort, the Fall Creek Resort, the Branson Yacht Club, and the Vista Plaza shopping center.

The Branson resort area attracts an average of 8.2 million visitors annually, ranking it 16th among all overnight leisure destinations in the United States.

Comments Off on Convention center at Branson Landing to attract meeting-goers

Next »