PERRYVILLE — Once again Great Wolf Lodge is growing before construction begins off Chesapeake Overlook Parkway.
In December, engineers for Morris & Ritchie Associates joined Steven Jacobson, vice president of domestic development for Great Wolf Resorts and approached Perryville’s mayor and commissioners seeking permission to expand the water park, which the elected body approved.
Tuesday night, Feb. 16, Jacobson was back, explaining plans to add 200 hotel rooms to the complex.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done a project where I’ve expanded before we broke ground,” Jacobson said.
Jacobson presented the Amended Final Site Plan, which will be reviewed by the town’s planning commission March 15, with its decision brought to the mayor and commissioners for a vote April 6.
With the additional rooms, larger splash park, lazy river and wave pool, and a second ride tower Jacobson said this makes Great Wolf Lodge in Perryville the largest indoor water park in the mid-Atlantic region.
“And it’s the largest one in our portfolio,” he said, adding that fact would be part of the marketing campaign not only in the US but in Europe. “It’s going to be an indoor water park like no other.”
Jacobson said COVID protocols they will need to have in place has added another $2.5 million to the more than $200 million project. The footprint is now about 36,000 square feet larger than what was originally submitted. The expansion caused an increase in water usage by another 64 estimated dwelling units. Each EDU is equal to 250 gallons of water used daily.
More rooms and more entertainment also means more jobs will need to be filled, he added.
“Not just housekeeping but chefs, hospitality managers, engineers,” he said, adding he expects to need to hire another 250 people.
“We will have the job fair in Perryville. It’s the commitment we made earlier and we stand behind that,” he said. Perryville residents will be given hiring priority.
Commissioner Bob Taylor asked Jacobson if there has been any conversations between Great Wolf and Hollywood Casino regarding a shuttle service between the two entertainment venues.
“I know there is a walking trail we are required to connect to and our end will be well lit,” Jacobson responded.
He’s had talks with Matt Heiskell, general manager and vice president of operations for the casino, about providing food service during the construction.
“We know we are going to have 2,500 to 3,000 people during construction and the casino has offered to have food trucks,” Jacobson said.
Turner Construction is the general contractor and Newman Pools, who has worked other Great Wolf projects, will be in charge of the water features.
Initially it was estimated construction would take about 20 months.
“With the additional rooms that takes it to 24 months, but hopefully it will be less than 24,” Jacobson said.
In December Dianna Battaglia, Perryville’s director of planning, said groundbreaking would take place in April.