Great Wolf executive praises effort to bring $200 million resort to Cecil County

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Jacobsen.

An executive with Great Wolf Lodge said a cooperative effort by state, town and county contributed to a decision to build a family resort in Perryville.

It was announced earlier that the $200 million, 500-room property is slated for competition at the end of 2021, with construction getting underway in 2020.

Steve Jacobson, vice president of Domestic Development for Great Wolf Resorts also praised the hard work of the Cecil County Department of Economic Development, the satte and the town of Perryville in landing the project.

He pointed to the large number of Email messages left by Dianna Battaglia, planning and zoning administrator for Perryville in his decision to take a closer look at Perryville.

Jacobsen was the keynote speaker at Cecil County’s 2019 Growth and Development Symposium held Thursday at the Chesapeake Inn in Chesapeake City.

Jacobson said numerous Emails from Battaglia led to a look at a “heat map” that shows population centers that might fit the profile for Graet Wolf.

Cecil County fit the bill, with a location along Interstate 95 that is in close proximity to population centers like Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.

The company also had some familiarity with the region, with locations in Williamsburg and the Pocanos.

Trying to come up with a win-win relationship with government is essential to putting together a massive project like Great Wolf, which combines an upscale hotel with a water park and other family attractions.

The project comes with a complex set of incentives. (See story below).

The company also had some familiarity with the region, with locations in Williamsburg and the Pocanos.

Trying to come up with a win-win relationship with government is essential to putting together a massive project like Great Wolf, which combines an upscale hotel with a water park and other family attractions.

The project comes with a complex set of incentives. (See story below).

 Hefty government  incentives  lure  Great Wolf to Cecil County

Jacobsen saiid the incentives are a necessity with large, complex projects. He said the agreements in Maryland are incentivized with governmental units assured of getting their money back, with Great Wolf working to get a return on its investments.

Jacobsen confirmed that Great Wolf has struggled with financing for its unique properties that don’t neatly into the world of hotels or amusement parks.

The company did receive a big boost when the real estate group of private equity giant Blackstone Group agreed to partner with Great Wolf.

The agreement will allow Great Wolf to step up an expansion that has been limited to one or two properties a year, Jacobsen noted.

He explained that Great Wolf’s target audience is parents with children between the ages of two through 12.

One of the questions asked of Jacobsen centered on whether Cecil countians would be able to get day passes to the waterpark.

Great Wolf has traditionally limited access to its waterpark and related attractions to hotel guests. That has begun to change with the company offering a limited number of passes if the property has room vacancies.

The passes are sold online.

The development would generate 1,000 construction jobs, with a permanent workforce of 500 full and part-time staff.

The jobs will include entry level employees as well as higher paid managers, engineers and others who maintained operate complex water park operations..

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