Great Wolf Lodge Resort, Controversial Garden Grove Development, Set to Break Ground in December w/$5 Million Subsidy

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City of Garden Grove
The Garden Grove City Council took another step towards aggressively redeveloping the Harbor Boulevard corridor recently rechristened as the "Grove District." During last night's meeting, residents were centered on complaints of coyotes on the west side, but there was a familiar wolf in the hen house.

Mayor Bruce Broadwater and the rest of the council moved forward to implement a funding mechanism approved last April for the construction of the low-income resident-displacing Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Resort that is now scheduled to break ground on December 9, 2013.

The project was originally slated for redevelopment money years ago, but the model has been tweaked with the dissolution of all such agencies in California. Senior Project Manager Greg Blodgett's summation of the staff report during yesterday's meeting was whisked through in under two minutes. Afterward, Mayor "Bulldozer" Broadwater and crew did what they usually do: unanimously vote to implement the city's subsidization.

As a result, Garden Grove MXD, Inc., a developer entity of Colorado-based McWhinney Enterprises, will receive $5 million upfront this December when construction begins. The city also agreed to front $42 million to the Great Wolf Lodge thirty days after its grand opening. Hopes are high to have the project completed by June 30, 2015.

"The proposed opening date of the Hotel is very important to the Developer," the agenda report reads, "because summer 2015 is the 60th anniversary of Disneyland."

Given the close proximity to Anaheim's resort area and the theme park itself, the Great Wolf Lodge is looking to capitalize on the occasion. The $300 million hotel resort will offer a minimum of 600 rooms with a possible addition of 200 more. A parking garage and one or more planned restaurants are also set to be constructed. Once completed, the indoor-outdoor waterpark in Garden Grove will be the company's largest in the United States.

The city is ready to "convey" the land to the developer now that all pre-conditions have been met including the razing of a municipally-owned low-income RV park and the displacement of its residents. Testier times have greeted Garden Grove's council chambers, but last night's move to implement the April 2013 agreement for the Great Wolf Lodge was met by deflated opposition to a battle long lost.

In the previous meeting, a $25,000 contract was awarded to Tait & Associates, the private civil engineering firm of current Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, for mapping and consulting services on the waterpark site. The private and political connections between Tait and the Great Wolf Lodge's developer have been fodder for the Mayor's detractors at odds with his recent public opposition to hotel subsidies in Anaheim.

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

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