A $200 million Great Wolf Lodge project is moving forward in Cecil County now that two economic incentive packages are in place.
The massive 450-500-bed, 44-acre resort planned for Perryville is expected to break ground later this year or by early 2020, a top county official said Thursday.
“We hope that it opens in 2021,” said Chris Moyer, director of the Office of Economic Development.
Ed Malinowski, a spokesman for Madison, Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Resorts Inc., was unavailable for comment Thursday.
The Great Wolf project would be the largest development in the rural county near the Maryland-Delaware state line. It would create up to 600 full-time jobs and add between 450 and 500 hotel beds to the local tourism industry. The property would also have a 1,000-person conference center, several restaurants and entertainment venues and a large waterpark and play area.
Great Wolf first opened in 1997 in Wisconsin. The chain is known for its sprawling water parks and playgrounds as well as live entertainment. The closest Great Wolf properties are located in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Scotrun, Pennsylvania, in the Pocono Mountains.
The Cecil County site is currently owned by Stewart Properties. Moyer said Great Wolf officials are presently in a due diligence phase and lining up contractors, engineers and architects for the project. The site will be located 43 miles from Baltimore and 63 miles from Philadelphia.
The Cecil County Council and leaders of the small Town of Perryville, one of eight independent municipalities, voted to approve the two tax break packages for the 450,000-square-foot resort earlier this month.
The council’s incentives will last for 25 years and feature a 50 percent personal property tax credit that is capped at $4.5 million. The panel also voted on Feb. 5 to waive its hotel administration fee for Great Wolf Lodge based on hotel revenue. Hotel suites are expected to cost about $180 per night.
The Town of Perryville’s mayor and commissioners voted on Feb. 19 to approve an economic development package with the chain resort company that also includes a nearly complete hotel occupancy tax abatement for 25 years.
Moyer said in mid-December the county anticipates that the Great Wolf development will produce a 170 percent rate of return in new revenue for the county in the coming 25 years.