H&LA Development Update: Sandusky, Ohio

Our recent research for a project in Sandusky, Ohio revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have an impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in Sandusky and the surrounding areas in 2024 and beyond.

  • In 2024, Cedar Point opened the newly reimagined Top Thrill 2 roller coaster. A rebuild of the former Top Thrill Dragster coaster, this 420-foot-tall ride now reaches speeds of 120 miles per hour and is billed as the world’s tallest and fastest triple-launch strata coaster. The park also announced the return of several popular events, including Boardwalk Nights in July and August; HalloWeekends in September and October; and the Winter Chill Out in February.
  • In 2021, the City of Sandusky reached an agreement with Cedar Fair that will lead to the construction of a new causeway between the mainland and the entrance to Cedar Point. This $100 million project, slated to take place in phases over the next 20 years, will also create a dedicated lane for pedestrians, a new water taxi system, a new recreation center, and funds to support arts programming in downtown Sandusky. As envisioned, this historic investment will help to revitalize downtown Sandusky and bolster the region’s tourism industry for years to come.
  • In November 2023, Cedar Fair and Six Flags announced that they would officially merge beginning in 2024, creating a combined company valued at roughly $8 billion. While it remains to be seen what impact this merger will have on the theme park industry at large, the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky is expected to remain open and operating as usual for the foreseeable future.
  • Sports Force Parks, the outdoor component of the Cedar Point Sports Center, was sold to Ripken Baseball in May 2023. Founded by Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., the group now owns and operates six such facilities throughout the U.S., including complexes in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; and Cooperstown, New York. In 2023, the Sandusky location hosted more than 50 tournaments during the baseball season, drawing thousands of youth participants and their family members to the area.
  • In October 2023, a new attraction called Cedar Point Esports opened in Sandusky with the goal of establishing a hub for gaming enthusiasts and esports athletes. Cedar Point Esports now features 32 gaming stations spread across 1,000 square feet inside the existing Sports Center building. Designed to capitalize on the popularity of esports competitions, this facility is expected to undergo an expansion to meet growing demand sometime over the next few years.
  • A $190 million mixed-use project is now planned that will redevelop Sandusky’s Battery Park at Meigs and East Water streets, significantly enhancing the city’s downtown waterfront. The 33-acre project is expected to include residential and commercial areas along with public park space. This project is led by Marous Development Group, which has been involved in a number of other recent developments in Sandusky.
  • Sawmill Creek Resort in nearby Huron, Ohio, reopened in 2022 following an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation. Purchased by Cedar Point in 2019, the property was closed for nearly three years before reopening as an upscale, nature-themed resort with two swimming pools, event space, multiple dining options, and access to the Sawmill Creek Golf Club and Sawmill Creek Marina.