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Great Wolf deal will make Manteca a destination
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A rendering of what the six-story Great Wolf Lodge in Manteca will look like.

Manteca is weeks away from a deal that will make it the top tourist destination in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

 On Tuesday, the Manteca Planning Commission will hold the first of a final round of public meetings on a development agreement and related documents that — if approved — will clear the way for Great Wolf to purchase 29 acres from the City of Manteca to build a 500-room resort hotel along with an indoor waterpark, restaurant and family fun complex, as well as a conference center.

Rising from the site immediately west of Costco along the 120 Bypass would be a six-story hotel as part of 588,000 square feet of structures that will require the employment of 1,500 workers over roughly two years to build.

The Great Wolf Resort is projected to draw 500,000 visitors annually to Manteca. That, coupled with the Big League Dreams across the street that has an annual attendance of 400,000, means municipal land that was once used to grow corn using treated wastewater will be attracting close to a million visitors a year to Manteca.

Manteca leaders want to harness that synergy to develop Northern California’s largest family entertainment zone on 180 acres of remaining municipal land. The vision for the land includes expanding the BLD complex, creating more soccer fields, developing an outdoor recreation facility that would include a stadium for soccer and other field games plus 360,000 square feet of dining, entertainment, and retail options.

Manteca was able to snare Great Wolf that typically employs one worker per every hotel room meaning 500 permanent jobs will be created locally by creating a shovel ready site for an indoor water park as part of its effort to extend gravity flow sewer lines under the 120 Bypass. Eventually  the city will repurpose the forced pump sewer line in place to send treated wastewater to irrigate parks and other areas south of the freeway.

Great Wolf representatives zeroed in on Manteca after negotiating with Brentwood and Gilroy for their Northern California location based not just on  the city having a site that is ready to build with needed environmental approvals but due to:

uit’s location along the 120 Bypass midway between Highway 99 and Interstate 5 with it being about an hour from San Jose, Sacramento, and San Francisco.

uit’s proximity to other attractions such as the B LD complex.

uthe local labor force.

Prior to the resort opening, Manteca will extend Daniels Street from where it ends at the edge of the Costco property to McKinley Avenue. The city is targeted to break ground on the McKinley Avenue interchange on the 120 Bypass in 2019.

At the same time the city is working with the San Joaquin Rail Commission in a bid to relocate the Lathrop-Manteca Altamont Corrider Express station now on Yosemite Avenue a little over half a mile south to city property that would be accessed from Daniels Street.

After Tuesday’s 7 p.m. commission meeting at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., the documentation needed for a final call on the deal will go before the Manteca City Council. Final action is expected before the end of March.

The documents include a development agreement that outlines a number of details including how room tax generated by Great Wolf’s guests will be used.

Economic Planning Systems — an intendent consultant the city has used in the past to vet the Costco, Big League Dreams and Bass Pro Shops/The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley deals — has determined based on 70 percent occupancy over the course of weekends and weekdays that Great Wolf Lodge will in its first year of full operations generate $4,327,000 in room taxes based on the city’s 9 percent rate, $246,000 in sales and use taxes, $348,000 in property tax and vehicle license in-lieu fees, as well as $123,000 in Measure M sales tax for the exclusive use of hiring frontline public safety personnel.

The deal calls for a 25-year sharing of the room tax.

Great Wolf during that period would receive the first $2 million generated annually. For the first 10 years they would receive 75 percent of the balance and the city 25 percent. That would make the city’s share for the first 10 years $581,750 annually. When added to the sales tax and property tax Great Wolf would bring $1.7 million annually into the city’s general fund in addition to the $123,000 in Measure M taxes.

From its share of the room tax, Great Wolf will pay the city $675,000 for the 29 acres, pay for development fees they owe the city, and cover the cost of planning and inspection consultants the city needs to hire to move the project forward.

After 10 years Manteca is expected to receive at least $1,163,400 in room taxes to bring its share to $2.3 million annually. When the deal ends in 25 years, Manteca would receive an annual equivalent of $4.2 million in constant 2018 dollars.

The development agreement deal prohibits the city from raising the room tax by more than 12 percent for 10 years following the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. A 12 percent increase would take the current 9 percent room tax to 10 percent. That would generate $510,000 more in room tax annually, if the city choses to go that route. All of the additional tax generated would go the city. That would increase the annually city cut in the first 10 years to $2.2 million in constant dollars.

The city is also barred from offering financial incentives to another project that has an indoor waterpark of more than 5,000 square feet for 18 years after the issuance of the certificate of occupancy.

What Great Wolf is

proposing to build

The final proposal the city and Great Wolf have hammered out calls for a 109,767-square-foot indoor water park. That is 46 percent larger than the 75,000-square-foot indoor water park original discussed.

That is roughly the same floor space as the Manteca Walmart.

The conference center being advanced is 13,219 square feet instead of the 30,000 square feet that the city had hoped Great Wolf would purse. Even so, for modern flexible meeting space that isn’t in an arena or an auditorium it will match the largest now available in San Joaquin County in one location that has hotel and food service on-site — the Hilton Inn in Stockton. Depending upon the use, it will be able to accommodate 1,000 to 2,500 people making it the largest such venue in the South County. It will not require booking hotel rooms to use.

Great Wolf has included a 58,896-square-foot family entertainment center dubbed Adventureland. It will feature everything from zip lines, climbing wall, and arcade to a mini-bowling alley.

There will be five or more restaurants in an 18,609-square-foot restaurant/food court that will seat up to 2,100 people. One would be a nice family sit down restaurant while another would be buffet style. Others typically include a Tex-Mex and American style dinning. That is in addition to other eating/drink places that typically include Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Dunkin’ Donuts, and other outlets such as a candy store.

Adventureland  is a pay to play meaning guests as well as the general public are charged for each attraction. All of the dining options will be open to the public as well.

The plan still calls for a 500-room hotel. When built, Manteca will have the largest hotel in the Great Central Valley. The hotel will consist of 357,184 square feet or roughly the same floor space as Manteca’s Costco, Target, and Walmart combined.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email