The Grand Palace property is making a transition to become Branson Boardwalk.
Partner Tej Sundher confirmed that construction of the $51 million Aquarium at the Boardwalk is on pace for opening in summer 2020 and should fuel future additions to the 13-acre site. General Contractor Crossland Construction and Owner Representative Blevins Construction Management are keeping the project on track to meet the timeline.
“The walls are going up, the pipes are being laid for the life support system, and soon we’ll be putting water through them for testing,” he said. “We’re also excited that the support columns at the front of the building are ready. That’s where our octopus sculpture will attach.”
As for the Branson Boardwalk name, Sundher said that it was selected based on data from several studies by H2R Market Research of Springfield, MO. “The name Branson Boardwalk was overwhelmingly chosen across all age groups as both the best fit for an entertainment complex with an aquarium and a lake and also the one that would most motivate them to visit,” said Jill Mowris, President of H2R.
With steady progress on the aquarium at the northwest corner of the site (at Glory Rd and Hwy 76), Kuvera is also moving forward on its commitment to the City of Branson to rehabilitate the property.
This includes adding a beautiful lake, attractive landscaping, and clean parking, as well as remediating the deterioration and unsanitary, unsafe conditions within and around the existing Grand Palace building. Alleviating the blight – including the black mold, water damage, and other interior and exterior destruction – is a condition of the company’s agreement with the City.
“We’ll be able to strip out everything from the concrete structure – the part that was the theatre itself – to allow for future use,” said Sundher. “But, our environmental studies showed that the wooden elements, including the plantation-style façade that contained the lobby and staircases, are too permeated with black mold to be restored.”
In preparation for the removal of the familiar mansion and to honor its legacy, Kuvera Partners recovered several key historic items that are being refurbished and donated to the community, including:
- Multiple Christmas trees and wreaths
- Four giant toy soldiers that were part of the legendary performances of The Rockettes
- The piano signed by dozens of stars who performed at the Theatre
- Four seats from the “Golden Circle” – the fourth row center where VIPs sat for performances
- The iconic chandelier that hung in the lobby
“Any amount of melancholy we feel for the Grand Palace as it was in its heyday is replaced by excitement and confidence that the new Branson Boardwalk and Aquarium at the Boardwalk will rejuvenate our entertainment corridor and bring new visitors,” says Ann McDowell, Executive Director of Project Branson. The coalition of Branson business people and entrepreneurs, representing more than twenty business locations on or adjacent to West Highway 76, supported the project as the city assistance was being considered.
“The clean-up and development of this property couldn’t be in better hands. Over many years, Kuvera Partners has shown that they are capable of creating a substantial new landmark in Branson, and we look forward to seeing Branson Boardwalk come to fruition,” according to Jeff Seifried, CEO of the Branson Chamber of Commerce & CVB.
Kuvera Partners purchased the parcel, located at 2700 West 76 Country Boulevard, on September 30, 2014 from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation through its associated entity, Branson Entertainment Center – Branson, LLC (BECB). The Grand Palace closed its doors in 2008.
For more information about Aquarium at the Boardwalk, or to be placed on a distribution list for updates, visit www.AquariumAtTheBoardwalk.com.