NAPLES, Fla. — As Collier County commissioners donned hard hats with wolf ears attached to join representatives with Great Wolf Lodge Resorts, ground was broken Thursday morning on the company's 21st location, and the first in Florida.
The Great Wolf Lodge is expected to open summer of 2024 and according to developers of the park, it’s estimated to bring in more than 200 construction jobs, plus an additional 600 full-time and part-time jobs when the park opens.
The resort will feature 500 suites, a 100,000 square-foot indoor water park plus indoor attractions for the family, and upgraded ones at that.
"The amenities and attractions that will be in this particular lodge will be next generation," said Steve Jacobson, VP of Development for Great Wolf. "A lot of the things you heard when we first presented the plan to the county, we've actually upped our game here."
Jacobson talked about dining options ranging from grab-and-go to sit-down style restaurants. He also assured Floridians who might find the thought of an indoor waterpark in the middle of paradise strange - an outdoor pool is part of the blueprint.
The indoor waterpark will be temperature-controlled to around 84 degrees, providing a summerlike atmosphere. Other areas of the resort will have cooler settings.
It's a project that’s been in the works for several years, according to county commissioners. Talks accelerated over a year ago when the county approved $15 million in incentives for the water park resort.
It's an infusion of business county leaders believe will stimulate the local economy.
“We can no longer just be a really nice place where people want to come," said Commissioner William McDaniel. "The economic impacts that are created for our residents are off the chart. Thousands of construction jobs, people coming here supporting our families."
The resort will be next door to Paradise Coast Sports Complex, which Great Wolf developers said was a natural choice to create an overarching family entertainment district.
Shareholders of Great Wolf invested more than $250 million dollars to see this project completed.