Hawaiian Falls no longer in default


After missing two payments and defaulting on a lease agreement, Hawaiian Falls parent companies are now fully in compliance with their Pflugerville Community Development Corp. performance agreement, according to the PCDC.

Amy Madison, interim executive director of the PCDC, said her corporation received Hawaiian Falls’ November and December payments and also received the water park company’s January payment early on Dec. 31.

“Hawaiian Falls provided us with all past payments and we’ve already accepted January payment so we’re current on all transactions,” she said. “We’re really pleased; we’re looking forward to a really great year.”

The PCDC confirmed in November that Source Capital LLC and Horizon Family Holdings—the owner and operator of Hawaiian Falls water and adventure parks—defaulted on the November payment for Hawaiian Falls Pflugerville. The PCDC backs the $25 million loan for the water park project, which is repaid through monthly lease installments.

Hawaiian Falls was assessed a penalty fee for both delayed payments but Madison did not release the fee amount.

Madison said Hawaiian Falls will undergo a management change in February and that she expects the park to re-open on time in late May.

“We’re ready to make a splash in 2016,” she said.

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  1. Pflugerville Resident

    It’s great to hear they got caught up on their payments! I would be most curious to know why they decided to start paying their bills. (Threat of legal action from the city?) A change in management sounds like a step in the right direction, but I’m skeptical about the long term viability of this place. They do a very good business on summer weekends, but the kids are only out of school for about 10 weeks, and there are never any guarantees with the weather, especially during our present El Nino weather cycle. Not even the two-for-one Tuesday deals or discount season passes were attractive enough to fill up the place on summer weekdays (which is sometimes called “Ghetto Schlitterbahn” by local residents). Attendance falling short of expectations may have to do with competition Round Rock’s little water park, the local pools owned and operated by the city of Pflugerville, pools and a splash park owned by local HOA’s, and the free beach on nearby Lake Pflugerville.

    I also believe that the paid parking, and requirement to pay a fee to bring your cooler is completely incompatible with other Central Texas water parks, and many people simply won’t enter the gate because of those unconventional fees. Many people also found the park’s Christian theme to be distasteful and out of place with any public water park. Fortunately, those are problems that can be easily fixed by new management.

    Another lesson they learned the hard way is that after school starts in August, demand for that kid’s rope climbing and high wire “Adventure Park” immediately dried up, but in their original business plan it was designed to be a year-round revenue generating venue. That leaves the snack bar, event hall, and arcade to carry all the weight though the winter, but that concept didn’t work either. New management might have a chance surviving the off season if they lowered the prices to compete with other local children’s birthday party venues like Chuck-E-Cheese, but now HF faces more local competition with the opening of the new bowling alley just down the street, and the recent expansion of Austin Park & Pizza.

    Some fundamental flaws in the park’s rides must also be addressed. A while back some woman really hurt herself on one of those water slides, and sued the place. Others have argued that some of those slides are not fast enough, and you sometimes get stuck and have to push yourself the rest of the way down. I’ve also heard many complaints about the ride operators being too conservative with the time they make people wait between riders. That practice seriously backs up the lines to ride, raising serious questions about the park’s realistic capacity. (Many people also legitimately complained about the undersized and overpriced lockers, which aren’t big enough for most people’s belongings.)

    There is also supposed to be some kind of event hall there, but I have never actually been in it, and I have never seen it advertised. I saw a sign outside stating that they were running church services out of there on Sundays, but what kind of business plan is that?

    With some management changes I think that park can survive, but any hopes of ever realizing their dream of being a major Central Texas tourist attraction seem to be long gone. The city really blew it when they backed the loan for this private venture with taxpayer money, but what’s done is done. Let us pray that the new management can turn it around, and prevent the city from assuming any further financial liability for it.

  2. HEB, just down the street, has a big sign on their front door advertising for workers: $11.25/hour. So how is Hawaiian Falls ever going to be profitable with such intense competition for local workers? The city made a BIG mistake backing this place.

Emilie covers community news in Central Austin and is the beat reporter for Austin City Council. She started with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 after working as a journalist in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
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