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$779K helps lay foundation for 189-acre family play zone
Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound WA 001-LT
The Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington. - photo by Photo Contributed

Great Wolf Resort isn’t a done deal.

But that isn’t stopping the city from taking the next step that would not only serve the 500-room resort with an 85,000-square-foot indoor water park but would lay the ground work for a massive 189-acre family entertainment zone also known by the shorthand of FEZ.

The City Council Tuesday is being asked to spend $779,157 from remaining redevelopment agency funds to retain the services of NV5 Inc. The engineering firm will design construction documents for major utility relocation work and expansion plus the extension of Daniels Street to McKinley Avenue.

Development of the FEZ will be accomplished via a public-private partnership. A private sector development group will construct the buildings, sports fields interior roads and “local” wet and dry utilities. The city will relocate and extend major utility lines such as water, sewer, and storm drains. the city also will extend McKinley Avenue.

McWhinney Development — the firm that would build the resort — is currently negotiating with Manteca as environmental studies are being completed for the resort and the rest of the FEZ. 

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. It would take roughly two years to build and would provide 570 jobs of which 414 would be full-time. The projected annual payroll is $9.4 million.

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.

The resort would sit on 30 acres immediately west of Costco fronting the 120 Bypass. It would also include a conference center and community exhibition facilities plus a large public parking lot.

Two additional baseball fields would be added to the west of the Big League Dreams complex. The sports complex would also have a western entrance.

A large manmade lake would go to the west of BLD and north of the Great Wolf site. It would be surrounded by passive and active recreation facilities plus supporting commercial uses. A loop road would circle the lake and connect in three locations with Daniels Street as well as a future extension of Wawona Street that will go along the northern boundary of the BLD complex.

Nine playing fields designed for soccer including three international fields will be created. That is in addition to a playfield designed for soccer with spectator seating.

An indoor sports structure is envisioned along with outdoor speed sports plus areas for various other recreational endeavors.

Ultimately a new visitors center could be build on McKinley Avenue near its future connection with Daniels Street.

Since the FEZ will border the wastewater treatment plant facilities, a major landscape buffer is included.

At the same time two other projects are moving forward that complement the FEZ but are not a part of it. That includes work on creating an interchange on McKinley Avenue at the 120 Bypass and punching Milo Candini Drive through to West Yosemite Avenue.

 The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.