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Waterpark resort study costs $133K
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Manteca is pumping $133,000 into dissecting a proposal that could land the city a private sector investment approaching $300 million for a massive waterpark resort and hotel.
The City Council with little fanfare Tuesday authorized a $63,000 amendment for the contract with Economic & Planning Systems to analyze the financial aspect of the developers’ proposal for a project on more than 60 acres of city-owned land west of Costco along the 120 Bypass.
Acting City Manager Greg Showerman authorized spending $35,000 on another contract amendment with EPS in November bringing the overall total to $133,000.
The November addition was needed as the Colorado-based McWhinney Development firm in working with an unnamed Wisconsin waterpark resort operator had submitted financial data on the project to the city critical to determining whether the endeavor that may involve sharing future room taxes with the potential water park operator made sense for the city. The negotiations are now considered at a critical juncture where fairly rapid turnarounds are needed to bring a deal to the point where all parties involved can make a final decision.
EPS has already started some of the work that the latest $63,000 will help cover due to the pressing need to get an answer for the city one way or another in  order to keep the project moving forward.
The $133,000 is being taken from the city’s Economic Revitalization Designated Reserves.
The analysis is similar to what was done for The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley that brought Brass Pro Shops to Manteca as well as the Costco tax sharing deal.
Elected leaders wanted EPS — that has a solid reputation as well as a solid track record with the City of Manteca — to thoroughly analyze the project’s finances and produce various scenarios from a conservative one to a best case before determining whether ultimately to OK the project.
The potential resort operators are looking at possibly more than 60 acres of city-owned land. The Great Wolf deal was predicated on 30 acres and the new discussions when McWhinney went hunting for a new partner pushed that up to 60 acres.
Whoever Manteca is negotiating with is relatively close to building should they strike a deal with McWhinney and the City of Manteca. That’s because the environmental clearance has already been secured for a specific project for a 500-room hotel, 75,000-square-foot indoor water park, 15,000-square-foot outdoor water park, and 30,000-square-foot conference center.
A completed and approved environmental impact report in California for a project is as good as money in the bank.
Once the state-mandated EIR that took 18 months to complete was adopted, it means a resort project that size or smaller can proceed. A firm starting from scratch such as Great Wolf is doing in Brentwood still needs to go through the EIR process.
Manteca officials  doubled the land set aside for a waterpark after McWhinney apprised them that the potential operator wanted to build significantly more than Great Wolf including as many as 800 hotel rooms and an RV park as well as what was described as essentially a “family amusement park.”

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email