Exciting News going on over at Schlitterville. Progress continues after partnership negotiations have concluded.
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KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend
Dale Rankin – “Work at the moribund Schlitterbahn Upper Padre waterpark is kicking back into high gear after a refinancing of the 75-acre waterpark and resort went into slowdown in the middle of 2015 due to a redesign of the project which doubled its size.
“We are fully funded and getting back to work,” Project Manager and part-owner Jeff Henry said from his crowded and cluttered office on the site on Tuesday. “ Our self-imposed goal is to have the waterpark finished in 70 days.”
As part of the new deal local businessman Willard Hammonds sold his one-third interest in the project to the Henry family, who own the Schlitterbahn chain and will now own a 67% interest in the local park, with the remainder continuing under the ownership of a group formed by Developer Paul Schexnailder. Estimated cost of the park at the beginning of construction was set at around $50 million, while park officials would not give a final figure for the cost of the park, sources place the number between $75 million and $100,000 million, depending on further changes in the design.
“We will concentrate first on getting park finished,” Henry said, “Our goal is to have the entire park ready to open by Memorial Day.”
But Henry said that while his goal is to have the entire park ready to open this summer, it will be actually be operated under a “brown out” system, in which portions will be opened to the public while others may remain closed.
“When we increased the size of the park,” Henry said, “it now will take 8000 people to fill it up and there is not enough time to do the advertising and planning for that many people this summer, and there is not enough time to hire the staff.”
Checks began going out this week to contractors who were owed back fees, and hiring for the project has now begun.
“We have about 1000 yards of concrete left to pour,” Henry said. “In spite of how it may look we don’t really have that much left to do.”
He said the first priorities will be the Downhill River, an 8000-linear foot waterway that will convey park visitors from one ride to the next, along with the Flow Rider feature which produces a standing wave. He said work on the 90-room hotel at the site will have to wait, however the exterior of the building is expected to be finished by the end of September to meet the deadlines set for $117 million in tax incentives from the City of Corpus Christi.
“We can’t there this summer on the hotel,” he said. “We will have the first floor and possibly the second floor open this summer.”
The fourth floor of the building has been redesigned to include a music venue large enough for about one thousand people.
As a side note, the machinations of building the park and the re-financing have all been captured on camera by the Travel Channel which has scheduled a special on Henry and the project for July 1.
“We still have some surprises in store,” Henry said. “But we are back on track and back to work. When we are finished this is going to be a great park.”