In­door wa­ter park re­sort could come to S. Florida

Great Wolf Lodge con­sid­er­ing a Pom­pano Beach lo­ca­tion

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Palm Beach (Sunday) - - Money - By Lisa J. Huri­ash South Florida Sun Sen­tinel

Great Wolf Lodge, a na­tion­ally known chain of in­door wa­ter park re­sorts, is con­sid­er­ing open­ing its first spot in Florida — and one of the pos­si­bil­i­ties is Pom­pano Beach.

A Broward County spokesman said there has been “dis­cus­sion” of a Great Wolf Lodge to be built at the site of the Isle Casino Rac­ing Pom­pano Park on the east side of Pow­er­line Road, known for its casino and horse rac­ing.

At­trac­tions such as Great Wolf Lodge — which of­fers ho­tels with in­door and heated wa­ter slides, wave pools and other wa­ter park at­trac­tions — have grown in pop­u­lar­ity. In­creas­ingly across the coun­try, casino op­er­a­tors build or part­ner with nearby ameni­ties to at­tract gam­blers to stay days — not hours. An­other Great Wolf Lodge is ex­pected to be built at a casino site in Mary­land.

There are 17 Great Wolf lodges in the U.S., and one in Canada, with two more be­ing con­structed or planned in Ari­zona and Cal­i­for­nia; Pom­pano Beach would be the first lo­ca­tion in Florida.

Ja­son Lasecki, Great Wolf Lodge spokesman, would not con­firm a po­ten­tial open­ing in Pom­pano Beach, but said South Florida has long been on the com­pany’s radar for ex­pan­sion. He named six of Florida’s coun­ties — in­clud­ing Broward, Palm Beach and Mi­ami-Dade as pos­si­bil­i­ties.

“We’re al­ways look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand the Great Wolf Lodge re­sort ex­pe­ri­ence to new au­di­ences and see po­ten­tial for a Great Wolf Lodge re­sort in Florida,” he said. “There are a large num­ber of fam­ily-friendly metropoli­tan ar­eas across Florida that could be a good fit for a fu­ture Great Wolf Lodge, but the area we’ve re­cently been ex­plor­ing is the South Florida area.”

Guests must stay at the re­sort to ac­cess the wa­ter park. But peo­ple don’t need to stay on site to ac­cess the restau­rant, or other at­trac­tions, which usu­ally in­clude a ropes course and mini-

golf.

Great Wolf Lodge’s typ­i­cal start­ing rates are $199 per night. That in­cludes an un­lim­ited-en­try pass to the wa­ter park dur­ing a stay. The rates may vary based on the re­sort lo­ca­tion and time of year.

In Pom­pano Beach, there has been a site ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment.

The pro­posal calls for hun­dreds of ho­tel rooms, and hun­dreds more con­dos or apart­ments in build­ings that could top eight sto­ries, as well as of­fice space. It has not yet been sched­uled for the County Com­mis­sion to hear it.

A site plan has not been sub­mit­ted yet to Pom­pano Beach City Hall, but city of­fi­cials say it will be a mam­moth ven­ture.

“It will be a very ex­cit­ing project for the fu­ture of Pom­pano Beach,” said Mayor Rex Hardin.

Phil Cooper, the spokesman for Pom­pano Park land owner, El­do­rado Re­sorts Inc. of Reno, Ne­vada, said the com­pany de­clined to com­ment.

A spokes­woman for The Cordish Cos., the de­vel­oper for the Pom­pano project, which also built the Semi­nole Hard Rock Ho­tel & Casino in Hol­ly­wood, could not be reached for com­ment by phone or email.

The com­pa­nies an­nounced in April a part­ner- ship to bring “a new world­class, mixed-use en­ter­tain­ment and hos­pi­tal­ity des­ti­na­tion in Pom­pano” that would in­clude “new up­scale re­tail, din­ing, and en­ter­tain­ment to South Florida” on the 223-acre site.

There is no large comme rc i a l wa t e r p a r k i n Broward County.

Rapids Wa­ter Park, a 30-acre at­trac­tion in Palm Beach County, is South Florida’s largest, but is 50 miles north of Fort Laud­erdale in Riviera Beach. A plan to bring a Wet ’n’ Wild to Fort Laud­erdale near Fort Laud­erdale Ex­ec­u­tive Air­port failed last fall.

lhuri­[email protected]­sen­tinel.com, 954-572-2008 or Twit­ter @LisaHuri­ash

GREAT WOLF LODGE/COUR­TESY

Great Wolf Lodge, a na­tional chain of in­door wa­ter parks, said it is con­sid­er­ing an ex­pan­sion into Florida.

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