Posted on September 5, 2017 · Posted in Investments, Land, Retail

A resort-style water park is coming to Broward County, even if it’s not the Schlitterbahn park everyone expected.

Premier Parks — owner of South Florida’s largest water park, Rapids Water Park in Riviera Beach — will build a Wet’N’Wild on city land near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The city’s 65 acres are also the site of Lockhart Stadium, which will be renovated, and Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

According to plans submitted to the city, the park will offer a lazy river, wave pool, 400-foot-long family raft riding experience, two 70-foot-tall speed slides, 1,300 feet of head-first mat racing, and “Neptune’s Revenge,” four water rides with “flying saucers, a pipeline wave, multiple bowls and tiny tornadoes.” The park also will offer a “Wet’N’Wild Junior” area for children seven and younger.

“We’re not doing small Wet’N’Wilds,” Premier Parks CEO Kieran Burke said from Canada, where the company opened a Wet’N’Wild Toronto. “We’re not doing a watered-down version. These are all state of the art attractions. They have a resort feel: cabanas, restaurants, bars, amenities, great visuals. The soonest the park could open would be summer 2019.”

The selection of Premier comes after a twisting, turning, seven-year saga with water park company Schlitterbahn — a saga that ultimately ended earlier this year in court. Premier had sued, and a judge agreed that use of the city’s acreage should be competitively bid. When that happened, Schlitterbahn didn’t apply.

Premier won the bid at a City Commission meeting in mid-August. Terms of the deal, including rent to the city and profit-sharing, will be negotiated and subject to a City Commission vote in the coming months.

“The park is likely to be open every day in the summer, weekends only September through November when children are in school, and closed entirely in December, January, February and most of March,” Burke said.

The slides will be built by ProSlide, provider of the slides for Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park and slides at Disney’s water parks.

The city’s been looking since 2010 for a suitor to bring life to the 65-acre property, site of two empty city stadiums. Fort Lauderdale Stadium was the Spring Training home of the Baltimore Orioles, and Lockhart until recently hosted the Fort Lauderdale Strikers professional soccer team. Under the proposal Premier submitted to the city, Lockhart Stadium will be completely renovated, and a new city sports park will be built with four sports fields.

“The fields are desperately needed for youth sports programs,” Mayor Jack Seiler said. “I’m excited about the water park, I’m excited about the opportunities for our families, and I’m equally excited about the ball fields,” he said. “I’ve been asking for ball fields for some time.”

“The redevelopment will help the city on a larger scale,” Burke, the former CEO of Six Flags Inc., said “It’s going to take the uptown area and really move it to the next level in terms of being an entertainment zone, And it’s all family.”


Source: SunSentinel

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