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Next move for Great Wolf is impact studies

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Next move for Great Wolf is impact studies

Part of the indoor water park of a Great Wolf Resort in Ohio.

Photo contributed/

POSTED July 19, 2013 1:30 a.m.

The ante in the hunt for the Great Wolf Resort is about to increase significantly.

McWhinney — the development firm pursuing a 400-room plus hotel combined with a 70,000-square-foot indoor water park plus conference center in Manteca — is preparing to put up funds needed to bankroll their share of an environmental impact report. The EIR would cover the envisioned 30-acre resort site immediately west of Costco as well as the adjoining proposed 140-acre family entertainment zone.

“They will have significant money in the game,” noted City Manager Karen McLaughlin of the advance deposit McWhinney will have to ante up for an EIR study.

‘It isn’t unusual for such studies to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for large projects. Staff has previously estimated the cost of the Great Wolf/family entertainment zone EIR at excess of $200,000.

The City Council asked for an update on the progress of Great Wolf talks during Tuesday’s meeting. McLaughlin noted the frequency of meetings are picking up as the financial diligence is being hammered out. The EIR will address impacts and what additional costs may be associated with the resort to mitigate some of its potential impacts on traffic and such.

Council members Vince Hernandez and Steve DeBrum are serving on a council sub-committee that meets with McWhinney and Great Wolf representatives.

The city and McWhinney late last year entered an exclusive negotiating agreement for the Great Wolf project. The agreement calls for a proposal and analysis to be submitted to elected leaders by November. At that time the council will decide whether to go with the plan or drop it.

Prior to that, the city had been in talks with Great Wolf Resorts directly. The resort operator brought in Colorado-based McWhinney as the developer. The current plan of the two partners is to have McWhinney build and own the resort if it proceeds with Great Wolf managing it.

The proposed Manteca resort reflects an investment of around $200 million to build. It would have a $9.4 million annual payroll with 414 permanent jobs and 156 part-time jobs. They also expect 400,000 annual visitors that would pay motel room taxes in excess of $4 million each year.

The overall objective is to wed Big League Dreams, a Great Wolf Resort and complementing venues to create an overall 205-acre regional family entertainment zone.

The site involves land that is now part of the city’s wastewater treatment plant holdings and is between McKinley Avenue and Airport Way along the 120 Bypass.

McLaughlin noted that four to five acres of wetlands on the 30-acre parcel the city owns that Great Wolf would like to build a resort is in such a location that construction could proceed while mitigation measures are being undertaken.

The most likely solution would be to create a replacement of four to five acres of wetlands on 417 acres city bought off of Hays Road south of Manteca to use for future wastewater treatment plant spray fields.

The conceptual plan for the family entertainment zone includes:

• a destination restaurant.

• a new west entry to the BLD complex.

• an indoor all-seasons sports and expo center with four basketball courts that would allow alternative use for volleyball, cheer competitions, badminton, gymnastics, wrestling or exhibit space.

• an outdoor soccer/concert stadium, with 500 fixed seats and space for expansion.

• fields for soccer, football, lacrosse, rugby, and field hockey.

• additional baseball and softball fields for youth play.

• a retail food and beverage zone.

• an immersive outdoor retailer.

• an outdoor amphitheatre with stadium-style seating for competitions and performances.

• ESPN-style microbrewery.

• manmade lake with boardwalk with kayaks, canoes paddle board and paddle boat rentals.

• beach volleyball.

• destination playground.

• outdoor performance space including a band shell stage or gazebo with lakeside seating for 500.

• party pavilions and party boats.

• a family entertainment zone including go karts, Lazertag, ball crawl, arcade, mini-golf, black-light bowling, and refreshments.

• an adventure zone with zip lines, rope course, rock climbing wall, whitewater course primarily for rafts and kayaks, stunt BMX race course and hard surface skate park for competitions complete with spectator bleachers, and a FlowRider (a device that generates waves you can surf).

There would also be RV and bus parking complete with a bus terminal.

The FEZ would require 4,281 parking spaces.

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