The next Great Wolf Lodge resort will be in California, less than two miles from Disneyland.

Great Wolf is not building the resort but the Madison indoor waterpark company will get a minority share of ownership as well as ongoing fees for licensing and operating the resort in Garden Grove.

"It is our new business model for development," said Great Wolf spokesman Steve Shattuck. "Instead of developing (the resort) ourselves ... we're able to expand our brand footprint by exploring license and management operations."

The developer, McWhinney, is a Loveland, Colo., real estate company whose projects range from warehouses and shopping centers to apartments and hotels. If construction financing and local government permits all go through, construction could begin in 2011 and should be completed in late 2012 or early 2013, Shattuck said. The project cost was not yet available.

The resort will have 600 suites, 30,000 square feet of meeting space and a 100,000-square-foot indoor waterpark — slightly bigger than the indoor waterparks at other Great Wolf parks.

"I am very excited about this license and management agreement. With a sizable population within a three-hour drive along with the close proximity to Disneyland, we have an attractive location for Great Wolf's first California resort," said chief executive officer Kim Schaefer.

Shattuck said having an established tourist destination nearby, such as Disneyland, is a big plus. "It just gives people another reason to come ... and stay for another day because there are other things in the area to do," he said.

There are currently 11 Great Wolf Lodge resorts around North America; the company also owns the Blue Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sheboygan.

 

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