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Local development firm buys former Geauga Lake and Sea World property, will create mixed-use district

The new development will be called The Geauga Lake District.

AURORA, Ohio — Sea World and Geauga Lake were two of the region’s most beloved amusement parks.

But when they were sold and shut down, they became an eyesore.

That is about to change.

Industrial Commercial Properties (ICP) led by Austin Semarjian; chief operating officer Chris Salata; and owner Christopher Semarjian, plans to introduce Northeast Ohioans to what they're calling The Geauga Lake District, a mixed-use community reflecting its history.

“Everything from signage, to landscaping, to lighting, to streetscape,” Salata said. “We were fortunate enough to obtain the intellectual property rights to the name “Geauga Lake” as well as all of the symbols and some of the things you might recognize from your childhood.”

The rebranding of the 377 acres of land, located in Bainbridge Township, will include "retail locations, a proposed mixed-use restaurant and entertainment district, and a residential office district near the lake, as well as multifamily residential and institutional sites," according to ICP's website. 

The first company to join the new development is Wisconsin-based home improvement store chain, Menards. The store will face State Route 43.

ICP's acquisition of the land, finalized on October 30, ends Cedar Fair's long-term ownership of the property. 

“We are a family here in Greater Cleveland. We want it to be something great and leave a legacy. Geauga Lake is a fairly large body of water, a spring-fed lake. There have not been too many developments like this in our market,” added Semarjian.

Despite the new deal, ICP plans to implement fixtures throughout the district that pay homage the history of land. 

“A lot of us grew up in Northeast Ohio and remember visiting this park while we were growing up,” Salata said. “It was very important to see that history remembered. That nostalgia is important to public officials and the public. We’ll also have a significant amount of green space and connectivity (such as conservation areas and walking trails) to give it connectivity and create a lifestyle environment.” 

Last year, Cedar Fair sold a chunk of the property for homes. This latest deal is even bigger, involving nearly 400 acres along water.

“We’re going to work closely with both the City of Aurora and Bainbridge Township to make sure that resource of Geauga Lake is preserved,” Salata said.

Both communities even established a new tax-sharing agreement to benefit from the deal and are pleased.

In a statement to 3News, the trustees of Bainbridge acknowledged “the property will never be the same,” but stated this is “an exceptional redevelopment opportunity.” 

Geauga Lake closed it's doors in September 2007 after 120 years in business. According to the Tribune Chronicle, the property sold for $19 million. 

For more information on the sale, click here

You can read the full statement from Bainbridge Township about the partnership with ICP below:

Editor's Note: The below story about Geauga Lake's future aired in August of 2019