The deal was sealed Tuesday to build a water park in Temecula.
Wild Rivers Temecula, known in Temecula for running a water park in Irvine, bought the 20-acre parcel on Diaz Road near Winchester Road from the city for $2.34 million.
The company will be required to put $1 million in escrow this week, staff said during a meeting Tuesday at the .
This is the third plan to build a water park in Temecula that the City Council approved.
The Wild Rivers company applied to build a park in the same location in 2009, but it backed out for financial reasons.
The company had too little money last time, said Mike Riedel, the president of Wild Rivers Temecula. "We just didn't have the financing," he said after the meeting.
This time, the team financing and developing the project is different, and they've done what the other team could not, Riedel said. "(Financing) is half the battle," he said.
The economy has improved in the last couple years, which also helped, he said.
Another water park plan was approved in 2006 for a site on Ynez Road near Date Street, but local business owners killed the plan with a lawsuit, saying it would snarl traffic near their offices.
To see the plan, .
The park will be an asset to the city, said Councilmember Maryann Edwards. "What it will do to boost tourism, it's going to have an amazing impact," she said.
One resident was disappointed the land sold for so little. When the deal was first approved, the land was valued at $8.75 per square foot. Now, it's worth only about $3, Temecula resident Bret Kelly told the council members during the meeting.
"I find it hard to believe the value of land has dropped by 300 percent," he said.
The depreciation is radical, said Councilmember Jeff Comerchero, but it's true.
"If you think property (value) hasn't dropped by 300, 500, even 1,000 percent, you're just not following the market," he said.
Criticizing the city for the financial loss is the wrong way to look at the deal, because the city's job is to provide amenities, not turn a profit, he said. "That's what we're in the business to do, provide amenities," he said.
Wild Rivers officials plan to open the park on May 11, 2013, Reidel said.