By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Great Wolf room tax deal in works
great wolf store
Great Wolf Resorts include kids stores, amusement arcades, and other non-swimming activities - photo by Photo Contributed

Future Great Wolf guests will pay up to $116.2 million in the form of room taxes to finance the building of city-owned improvements such as a conference center and public parking that would be built as part of McWhinney Development’s 500-room resort and indoor waterpark project.

The financing scenario is broadly spelled out in a memorandum of understanding between McWhinney Development and the city that will be before the City Council for consideration on Tuesday.

The document lists specifically what McWhinney is proposing to build – a 500-room hotel, 75,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, a 15,000-square-foot outdoor waterpark, 37,500 square feet of restaurant space, and spas for both adults and children. The improvements will generally be for hotel guests but will occasionally be made available to the community at times and terms to be negotiated.

The city will build a 30,000-square-foot conference center adjacent to the hotel, public parking, and various other improvements needed for development of the site.

A special hotel tax assessed on Great Wolf is projected to generate $2.8 million annually in the first year of operation. It will be used to pay back McWhinney the cost for building the city-owned improvements valued at $32 million along with interest.

The city’s annual payment from room taxes collected from Great Wolf guests to McWhinney will never exceed 75 percent of what is collected. That means if $2.8 million is collected in a given year, $2.1 million would go to McWhinney and $700,000 to Manteca. If the amount collected in a year is $1 million, McWhinney would get $750,000 and the city $250,000.

 In no event will the city pay more than 30 years for the improvements being built by McWhinney that the city will own nor will the amount exceed $116.2 million.

No general fund money would go to the project nor will the city be on the hook financially for anything beyond 75 percent of the transit occupancy tax. The money will come from a 14 percent charge per day on room bills — the standard 9 percent TOT Manteca currently charges and a special 5 percent resort tax that will apply only to the Great Wolf project.

Then city would also receive all of the local share of property and sales taxes plus any Measure M public safety taxes collected.

Manteca would lease the city-owned 30 acres to McWhinney for 30 years.

The comment period on the project’s environmental documents ends this month. Great Wolf is targeted to go before the Planning Commission in September and then before the City Council in October.

Should the project go forward, it will take close to two years to complete.

McWhinney is basing negotiations on a 290,000-square-foot hotel with 500 rooms – with a possible future expansion of 200 rooms – along with the 75,000-square-foot indoor water park, the outdoor waterpark, and a 30,000-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.

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.

The City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.