|By Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jun. 22, 2006 - The Wisconsin Dells is getting another water park resort, this one with more than 300 vacation condominium rental units planned for 112 acres overlooking the Wisconsin River, the project's developers said Wednesday.
Cambrian Development plans to begin building the units this fall at the $163 million Grand Cambrian Resort, which will be along Lynch Road in the Rocky Island region of the Lower Dells.
Cambrian Development is led by Mac R. McDonald, whose construction company has built several Dells-area hotels, and Ron Flock, owner of OK Corral Riding Stable, Big Country Colossal Buffet and other businesses in the Dells.
The first condo units could be completed by next summer, said Craig Wilkinson, Grand Cambrian operations manager.
The prices will start at $380,000 for condo units with about 1,500 square feet, Wilkinson said. The units, including larger and more expensive condos, will be available for rent when not in use by their owners, he said.
With 308 units, the Grand Cambrian will be the newest major indoor water park resort built in the Dells. It will have more than 2,000 feet of Wisconsin River shoreline, making it unusual among area resorts. Many of those properties are away from the river on Wisconsin Dells Parkway, the main commercial road through the neighboring communities of Lake Delton and Wisconsin Dells.
Grand Cambrian's indoor water park initially will have around 30,000 to 35,000 square feet, Wilkinson said, and eventually will encompass 52,000 to 55,000 square feet.
The resort also will include an outdoor water park, 10,000 square feet of meeting room space, a restaurant and an arcade.
The development will market its condos to buyers in Wisconsin and northern Illinois, and it will go for "a more upscale package," by offering amenities such as flat-screen TVs and whirlpool tubs, Wilkinson said.
A development and annexation agreement between the City of Wisconsin Dells and Cambrian Development was approved Monday by city officials, Wilkinson said. The project is being financed with a loan from Associated Bank.
Grand Cambrian will be a major development, and it will rank among the largest indoor water park resorts in the Dells area.
The three largest resorts are Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort, with 443 guest rooms and 375 villas, condos and cabins; the 740-room Kalahari Waterpark Resort and Great Wolf Lodge, with 309 guest rooms and 77 condos.
Largest parks near interstates
However, the Wilderness, Kalahari and Great Wolf all are on Wisconsin Dells Parkway, near I-90/94. The Grand Cambrian's location on the Wisconsin River makes it unusual among large resorts in the Dells area.
Of the handful of riverfront resorts, the largest is Chula Vista Theme Resort, with 300 rooms. Last year, Chula Vista began a multiphase expansion that will leave the resort with around 1,000 condos and guest rooms when completed in 2009.
The Grand Cambrian also shows that developers and their lenders think the Dells will continue to grow as a regional, year-round vacation destination.
Visitors to the Dells spent an estimated $930 million in 2005, more than triple the amount spent 10 years earlier, according to the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau. Much of that growth came as the indoor water park resorts converted the Dells from a summer attraction to one with year-round appeal.
Copyright (c) 2006, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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