Independent TribuneNews Water park planned near Lowe’s Motor Speedway

Water park planned near Lowe’s Motor Speedway

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By Eric C. Deines
[email protected]
CONCORD — All signs indicate that Cabarrus County has been selected for a large water resort off Speedway Boulevard.

A Wisconsin-based construction company is recruiting a site safety manager for a $70 million resort planned for Concord.

The construction company is the one used exclusively by Great Wolf Lodge, the company developing an indoor water park in the metropolitan Charlotte area. 

Concord has been vying for the 466,000-square-foot water resort for several months.

The construction company, Kraemer Brothers, has in its portfolio at least two other water resorts for Great Wolf — in Tannersville, Pa. and Lake Delton, Wis.

Kraemer officials deferred confirmation of the project to Great Wolf officials.

“Clearly, we’re not the ones who should be talking about (the project),” said Jen Kraemer, an official with Kraemer Brothers. “(Great Wolf) should.”

The 409-room resort, called Great Wolf Lodge, has been proposed for 37-acre undeveloped site on Old Holland Road, off Speedway Boulevard.

An advertisement seeking a site safety manager lists an 18-20 month construction period.

Cabarrus County approved a $2.6 million tax incentive grant in June to Great Wolf to help recruit the project that eventually would employ about 400 people.

Also in June, the Concord Planning and Zoning Commission approved a site plan for the resort — projected to cost $100 million at the time.

Mayor Scott Padgett said Friday that the city has not received any confirmation to date that the city has been selected for the new resort.

“(Great Wolf hasn’t) confirmed anything with us,” Padgett said. “I’m not surprised, but I haven’t heard anything from them. I assume they’re anxious to make decisions and get started.”

And DeSales Wagster, president and CEO of the Cabarrus Convention & Visitors Bureau, said her organization had not received an official confirmation.

“I have not heard any official word from Great Wolf,” she said. “You never know until you’ve heard the final word.”

News of the company’s proposal to bring the resort to Concord drew some ire from other jurisdictions in the Charlotte Region, stemming from a regional battle during the past two years for Concord’s proposal to water from the Catawba river basin in an effort to supplement the community’s limited water supply.

This year, Concord and Kannapolis were awarded a certificate by the state to draw up to 10 million gallons daily from the river basin.

Opponents of the water transfer have said the proposed resort shows Concord will use the water for economic development, not as much-needed drinking water for residents.

“I know there’s a perception problem,” Padgett said. “But worrying about perception should not stop you from making good decisions.”

However, officials say the resort will implement several water conservation methods, from regenerating water used in the waterpark to using waterless urinals in its restrooms.

“I know it would use a lot less water than if apartments were built on that site,” Padgett said.

While there will be some suites at the hotel solely designed for adults, the majority of the rooms will feature and log cabin room-within-a-room for children.

Rooms rates are expected to average about $300 a night. And access to the water park will be reserved for overnight guests of the resort.

Concord has not approved any sort of incentive for Great Wolf, but officials have said that the incentive may come in the form of intersection improvements at Weddington Road and Speedway Boulevard identified in a traffic impact study for the proposal, or other infrastructure improvements.

• Contact Eric C. Deines: 704-789-9141.


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