As early as next week, city council members in Garden Grove, Calif., will consider a new proposal for the largest water park hotel west of the Mississippi River.
Last year, the council picked Colorado-based McWhinney over another developer who proposed an upscale casino resort. Now, McWhinney has returned with plans for a 600-room, 10-story hotel with 15,000 square feet of meeting space, all connected to a three-acre indoor or outdoor water park, according to the Orange County Register.
The 10.3-acre site for this $300 million project is about a mile away from Disneyland.
The city already has all the land McWhinney needs for this project. The project would be located partly on the former Fire Station Motel site and partly on the Travel Country RV Park site. The city will relocate the 48-space RV park to another site in Garden Grove, said Greg Brown, the city’s redevelopment manager.
The water park hotel would be a major anchor for Garden Grove’s InternationalWEST resort area on the Harbor Corridor and an excellent addition to Orange County’s choice of hotel and resort offerings, said City Manager Matt Fertal.
“This project is going to be more than a home run for us; it’s the grand slam,” he said. “And that’s because it combines the hotel experience with the resort experience. It complements Disneyland and other resorts in the area.”
The water park is not meant to be a giant attraction where tourists spend a whole day, but an amenity to those who stay at the hotel, Fertal explained.
“It’s an incentive for people who come to Disneyland to stay at this hotel,” he said.
Groundbreaking for this new project could happen as early as 2012, said Trae Rigby, project manager for McWhinney Enterprises. Rigby said he does not see the current economic downturn as a challenge.
“A project of this size and this magnitude could take several years to plan and execute,” he said. “By the time the economy recovers, we think we’ll have a fantastic project coming out of the ground.”
The project has the potential to generate $5.3 million in tax revenue per year to the city and 600 temporary and permanent jobs, Fertal said.
The next critical step is to get the city council’s blessing Tuesday, Rigby said. Once that is accomplished, McWhinney would be faced with selecting a hotel brand and operator. That would be followed by the design process. They also would need to get the project financed, which Rigby is optimistic about as well.