BY RIANNE PEREDO
The Guam Slingshot will soon be permanently removed from Tumon and eventually relocated after more than 17 years of operation.
Peter Walls, owner of Slingstone Group, which does business as Slingshot Guam, Shamrocks Pub & Eatery, Green Lizzard and Sling Stone Coffee and Tea Co., said that “the landowner has decided he’s going to develop something on the site. So it’s time for us to move on.”
Walls said that the project to disassemble the ride costs around $50,000. “This is a SandCastle lot, so they gave us 60 days to remove [everything]…now it’s just a matter of returning the lot back to what it was originally, which is just a car park,” he said. The SandCastle building located across from the lot, which is a dinner restaurant theatre, is owned by Baldyga Group LLC.
Building another Slingshot on Guam would likely cost more than one million dollars, according to Walls. “It’s going to cost a lot because we’ve got to bring brand new towers out here, ship them out here [and] spend a whole year of going through the planning [and] permit process; that’s a real drawn out ordeal. But we have good partnerships, and it’s worth it.”
Despite the Slingshot’s closure, Walls said his other businesses will continue regular operations. Walls is currently in the process of deciding where the new Slingshot will be relocated.
The Slingshot model on Guam was designed around 1998 or 1999, according to Walls. The ride itself is manufactured by Funtime Inc. in Dolsach, Austria and utilizes a spring propulsion device to propel its passengers more than 328 feet high in a capsule, according to the Funtime website.
Funtime has other rides it has patented, such as the Star Flyer and Vomatron. “The Slingshot was kind of the baby that started Funtime, and kind of developed our opportunity to make more rides and different amusement parks,” Walls said.
Within the Asia-Pacific region, Funtime has an amusement park in Queensland, Australia, with the company’s namesake, as well as Slingshot rides in Korea and Singapore.
In regard to the Slingshot’s popularity on Guam, Walls said, “A lot of people see it as an icon…I think the Japanese [tourists] are a bit shocked that it’s not here right now — a bit disappointed — because they really want to make this part of their tour. But we’re hopeful that we can bring it back.”
Previously reported in the Journal was Walls’ plan to add more locations of Sling Stone Coffee and Tea Co.; the initial location is in Anigua, while the second is in east Hagåtña. There is one new location under construction beside the Mobil gas station in Barrigada Heights that is expected to open before the end of 2019.. mbj