|By Barry Adams, The Wisconsin State
JournalMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 1, 2009--The largest owner of waterpark resorts in the country will no longer own its resort in the Wisconsin Dells area, although the property will retain the Great Wolf Lodge name.
In a $6 million proposed deal with CNL Income Partners of Delaware, Great Wolf Resorts of Madison is selling its approximately 30 percent ownership in the Great Wolf Lodges in Lake Delton and Sandusky, Ohio.
In 2005, CNL purchased an approximately 70 percent share in the two properties. The Lake Delton property has 308 rooms and the Sandusky resort has 271 rooms.
Both resorts will continue to operate as Great Wolf Lodges under a license and management agreement with Great Wolf Resorts, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
"We're always open to finding new ways of generating liquidity when it makes sense," Steve Shattuck, a spokesman for Great Wolf Resorts, told the Wisconsin State Journal on Friday. "We felt this arrangement was worthwhile to create shareholder value. For the average consumer, there will be absolutely no difference."
The company operates 12 resorts, but not all are owned by Great Wolf Resorts.
The 406-room Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is 100 percent owned by Ripley Entertainment, while the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation own 51 percent of the 398-room Great Wolf Lodge that opened last year in Grand Mound, Wash. Great Wolf Resorts owns the remaining 49 percent. In both cases, Great Wolf Resorts manages the properties.
The company also has letters of intent to build resorts in Georgia, Connecticut and Minnesota.
"We expect all future Great Wolf Lodges to be licensing deals or joint ventures," Shattuck said. "It allows us to continue development without having to fund construction off our balance sheets."
The transaction is subject to approval of the lender holding mortgages on both resorts, but the purchase agreement may be terminated if certain closing conditions are not met by Aug. 6.
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Copyright (c) 2009, The Wisconsin State Journal
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