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2015: Year of the Great Wolf?
Manteca targets mid-2015 for final decision
Guests after they completed a ride down a water slide at an existing Great Wolf Lodge are assisted by a staff member. - photo by Photo Contributed

It’s been 47 months since negotiations over the possibility of building a Great Wolf Resort on 30 acres owned by the City of Manteca along the 120 Bypass first started.

And now it looks like it’ll be another eight months before the project makes it before the Manteca City Council for a thumbs up or thumbs down.

That’s because a refinement of the city’s proposed family entertainment zone immediately west of Big League Dreams along a future extension of Daniels Street to McKinley Avenue — of which Great Wolf would be a part of — means additional environmental studies need to be done under California law.

The City Council Tuesday authorized spending an additional $13,255 with De Novo Planning for the environmental studies needed in conjunction with the tweaks to the Family Entertainment Zone Master Plan. The original EIR contract was awarded in November 2013.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin said the changes include architectural design standards as well as spelling out what type of businesses would be allowed in the zone and what concerns would be barred. Also a small parcel has been removed from the overall plan.

McWhinney representatives met with city staff again on Tuesday. Company officials have indicated they are still committed to moving a Manteca project forward and are anxious for the day they can break ground.

Assuming the project gains approval in June, it would take close to two years to build the complex meaning the earliest it could open would be by the summer of 2017. That also happens to be Manteca’s 100th anniversary as an incorporated city.

If the Great Wolf Resort is built, it will be the biggest single investment at one time in a private sector project in the history of Manteca coming in at $150 million. Great Wolf would also become the largest private sector employer if and when they open their doors.

McWhinney is basing negotiations on a 290,000-square-foot hotel with 500 rooms – with a possible future expansion of 200 rooms – along with an 85,000-square-foot indoor water park and a 20,000-square-foot conference center. A possible expansion would add 79,000 square feet to the water park and double the size of the conference center.

Great Wolf promises to create 414 permanent jobs and 156 part-time jobs in Manteca with an annual payroll of $9.4 million and the overflow spending of 400,000 yearly visitors.