Great Wolf Lodge proposal on El Paso City Council agenda

El Paso News
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A Great Wolf Lodge resort could be destined for West El Paso.

A pitch for incentives to land the large indoor water park and resort is on the El Paso City Council Agenda.

The plan would be to build the resort on 44 acres in West El Paso at North Desert Boulevard and Paseo del Norte, across from West Towne Marketplace and off of Interstate 10, said Jessica Herrera, director of the city’s Economic and International Development Department.

The land, which is in the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #10, is currently owned by FSW Investments, LP, owned by El Paso billionaire Paul Foster, and is worth approximately $18.6 million, according to city documents.

In order to acquire it, the City would trade a piece of land in Northeast El Paso, up to more than 2,300 acres, and appraised at the same amount as the Westside property, Herrera said.

The Northeast property is Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #13, which is coded for General Mixed Use Development. It is owned by the City and managed by the Public Service Board.

The area is north of North Hills and northeast of the Northeast Regional Park. It straddles U.S. 54 and includes Painted Dunes Golf Course, which could be a part of the swap.

Incentives for Great Wolf Lodge would come from the state, the City and El Paso County. 

The state incentives could include a 100 percent state sales tax rebate for 10 years, a 100 percent state Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT tax) rebate for 10 years and possibly a State Convention Center and Hotel Program, which would allow for additional rebates because the resort could hold conferences.

In addition to the land exchange, the incentives from the city could include a 100 percent property tax rebate for 15 years, a 50 percent city (HOT Tax) rebate for 15 years, a 100 percent city sales tax rebate for 15 years, about $520,000 in infrastructure and safety improvements (funded by TIRZ 10) and a $5 million development grant from the El Paso Water Utility.

If the city approves the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting, the company will meet with the El Paso County Commissioners for additional incentives.

The presentation says that El Paso would benefit economically with Great Wolf Lodge coming. It is estimated that there will be more than 1,190 construction jobs and more than 385 jobs at the resort. 

The presentation said that Great Wolf would provide a $160 million capital investment and it also estimates a $680 million economic impact to the city over the course of 10 years and more than 500,000 visitors annually.

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