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Scottsdale’s CrackerJax entertainment park sold to Arizona tech billionaire

Two longtime family entertainment businesses, Tempe’s Big Surf and Scottsdale’s CrackerJax, have been sold to large companies with plans to use the land for other purposes.

Mark Stapp is the executive director of Arizona State University's Real Estate Development program. He says older establishments are hard to keep operational and even more expensive to keep updated with changing entertainment standards.

“These two in particular are, you know, somewhat iconic, but they're obsolete. And when you look at the change in metropolitan Phoenix, this is, I think, normal. I mean, there's higher and better uses for these properties,” said Stapp.

Stapp says these closures are similar to the 1983 closure of the Legend City amusement park and are just indicative of a changing metropolitan area.

“They simply can’t generate enough revenue out of the current use to warrant existing in that location, when you look at what's going on all around it,” said Stapp.

Big Surf was sold to California-based commercial real estate company Overton Moore Properties, while CrackerJax was purchased by Arizona tech billionaire George Kurtz, who plans to open a research campus to bolster Scottsdale’s tech sector.

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Vaughan Jones is the weekend reporter for KJZZ, and a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism, with a minor in music. As a Phoenix native, Jones’s dream is to serve his community by covering important stories in the metropolitan area.He spent two years as music director at Blaze Radio, ASU’s student-run radio station. His passion for radio stems from joining Blaze his freshman year as a DJ.When he is not working, Jones can be found writing music with his band, playing video games with his friends, or watching his favorite Phoenix-area sports teams.