- Contractors and other vendors that supplied construction services and materials to SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment LLC for its properties in Central Florida have filed $23 million of mechanics liens against two major theme parks — Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and SeaWorld in Orlando — for nonpayment.
- Liens against Busch Gardens and its water park Adventure Island total just over $7 million. The Orlando properties — SeaWorld, the Discovery Cove family resort and the Aquatica Orlando water park — have amassed more than $16 million of liens.
- The liens, all filed since April, come after theme park shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The total amount that SeaWorld will have to come up with to clear the liens could be lower if the general contractors' claims include what they owe the subcontractors that have also filed liens.
Theme parks in Florida were dealt an economic blow when the spread of the novel coronavirus forced them to close their doors temporarily. A SeaWorld Orlando spokesperson told the Orlando Sentinel that they expect to be able to make payment arrangements with their vendors as the parks re-open.
The Sentinel also reported that SeaWorld Parks had a $400 million cash reserve at the end of April after securing recent loans, giving it an 18-month cushion to weather the pandemic.
General contractor Balfour Beatty Construction LLC submitted the largest total claim, $6.1 million for work at Aquatica and SeaWorld. Premier Rides Inc., which designed SeaWorld's first launch coaster, the Ice Breaker, says the amusement company owes it $2.7 million. The largest claim against the Busch Gardens park — $3.5 million — is from Rocky Mountain Amusements Inc., which built the Iron Gwazi roller coaster.
Other large contractor liens against the Busch Gardens/Adventure Island properties include:
- $1.1 million - Whitewater West Industries LTD
- $934,824 - T & G Corp. dba T& G Constructors
- $979,311 - Friedrich Watkins of Tampa LLC
Those making claims against the Orlando parks also include:
- $1.8 million - United Electrical Contractors
- $578,446 - Maddox Electric Co.
- $489,524 - Mack Contracting LLC
A valid mechanics lien puts an encumbrance on a property so that the owner cannot sell it or refinance until the outstanding debt is settled. And, according to a report last month from notice and lien service provider Levelset, more contractors are availing themselves of the lien process in the wake of the uncertainty generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of lien filings increased by 40% from January through March.