The $200 million Great Wolf Lodge is moving forward in western Cecil County, MD, although the company stopped short of offering a groundbreaking or construction timeframe.
The project was first announced in late 2018, with a tentative timeframe calling for completion in 2021. Perryville is 20 miles west of Newark, DE.
The development would generate 1,000 construction jobs, with a permanent workforce of 500 full and part-time staff.
Local officials pushed hard for the project for the area of the county that has seen an economic boom, thanks, Amazon and other companies building distribution centers.
The Baltimore Business Journal (subscription) reported the company added 120-rooms to the project by purchasing more land at a site off Interstate 95, near the Hollywood Casino.
“As we look to continue to expanding our family-friendly Great Wolf Lodge experience to new audiences, we are excited about the prospect of a future Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park resort in Perryville. We still have some milestones ahead of us and hope to share an update on this project in the future,” company spokesman Jason Lasecki stated this month.
Great Wolf has expanded its family-friendly waterpark resorts beyond traditional tourist destinations. Original plans for the center also called for a conference center.
The company, which got its start in the touristy Wisconsin Dells area frequented by Chicagoans, also operates resorts in Pennsylvania’s Poconos and Williamsburg.
While the Perryville resort will not be in an area loaded with tourist attractions, the company was attracted to a location along the I-95 corridor with a potential market of tens of millions.
Great Wolf projects typically come with long-time frames due to their size, financing requirements, and use of government incentives. The State of Maryland, county, and local governments previously okayed assistance.
The Covid-19 pandemic added to the uncertainty with the Cecil County project.
But as the pandemic dragged on, the investment community is coming around to believing that pent-up demand will spur tourism once vaccinations take hold.
Great Wolf also has a majority owner with deep pockets. A unit of private equity giant, Blackstone has a 65 percent stake in the company. In nearby Delaware, Blackstone was a key investor that helped save the Delaware City refinery and hundreds of jobs.
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