By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
At a special meeting Tuesday afternoon,the council voted 5-0 in favor of a resolution asserting that an earlier agreement with Garden Grove MXD, Inc. to build the 600-room Great Wolf resort on a 12-acre site just north of Garden Grove Boulevard was an “enforceable obligation” in the post-redevelopment era.
If finally approved by the state Department of Finance, the project would mean $47 million is to be paid to the developer from the trust fund of money that went into the redevelopment fund before the state ended such agencies.
Only one member of the public spoke at the hearing held on the matter. Josh McIntosh, a candidate for city council, said “I don’t think that the people of Garden Grove should have to pay $47 million for a project they didn’t ask for.”
According to city officials, the development — which would include a parking structure, restaurants and other space — will eventually send the city $8 million annually in new tax revenue, compared to the annual cost of about $4 million in paying off the bonds issued to finance it all. The bond repayment is expected to last about 20 years.
The money wouldn’t be paid all at once to the developer. One $5 million chunk would be for the parking structure, the other $42 million paid upon completion of the project.
The water park hotel is envisioned by city leaders as a key component in the “International West” concept for Harbor Boulevard. Garden Grove is seeking to expand its hotel and entertainment district south from Chapman Avenue to create a booming tourist Mecca similar to a busy throughfare in Orlando, Florida.