Great Wolf mega resort not a done deal

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Good afternoon everyone,

Headlines in local papers proclaimed that a $200 million Great Wolf Lodge was coming to a “shovel ready” site west of Newark early in the next decade

The words “may” or “possible” should have been included.

It is true that the site near the Hollywood Casino near Perryville, MD is on a short list of possible developments.

A spokesman for Great Wolf was candid in noting that incentives will be needed to make the numbers work on a 450-500 room hotel with premium prices as well as a conference center, water park, arcade etc.

“Approved Enterprise Zones will be a significant consideration as we further evaluate this opportunity. We feel Perryville could be a nice fit for us and look forward to continued dialogue with city and county officials, as well as the community at large, as we explore the prospect for a Great Wolf Lodge in Maryland,” he wrote.

The zones are part of a Maryland tax incentive program that targets areas where development is desirable.

The Perryville site has some advantages for Great Wolf, namely a location along Interstate 95 and the possibility of meshing conferences and family time. It does move away from its normal formula of locations near amusement parks and tourism destinations.

There is also rival Kalahari, which has pushed the envelope in building massive resorts and like Great Wolf has a location in the Poconos. Both Kalahariand Great Wolf have their roots in the water park hotspot of Wisconsin Dells, which draws millions of visitors a year

The Cecil project would also be a springboard to other developments that cluster around tourist attractions.

But the numbers have to work and the county and the State of Maryland might have to further sweeten the pot while risking charges of corporate welfare.

By no means is this a “done deal.” In the meantime, check your gutters. I hear a downpour is on the way.– Doug Rainey, publisher

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