A water park resort chain with a history of interest in the Fredericksburg area is looking to build a park in the Thornburg area of Spotsylvania County.
Kalahari Resort and Conventions filed a rezoning request with the county Wednesday.
The company is seeking to rezone nearly 135 acres between U.S. 1 and Interstate 95 from agricultural to planned development commercial, according to a county news release.
The property is in a designated high-growth area near the county’s southernmost I-95 interchange.
According to the county, Kalahari is looking to build a 267,429-square-foot indoor “waterpark & family entertainment center,” a 10-acre outdoor “resort pool/waterpark,” a 900-room hotel and a 156,278-square-foot convention center on the property.
Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors Chairman Tim McLaughlin is cautiously optimistic about Kalahari coming to the county.
“We are always willing to work with companies in an effort to explore whether a project is a good fit for Spotsylvania, with positive impacts on the county and its residents,” he said in the news release. “While we are certainly intrigued by this proposal, it is important to recognize that the project must still go through the county’s rezoning process.”
The Planning Commission will address the rezoning request first, a process that will include a public hearing. The Board of Supervisors has the final say on the matter.
If the resort comes to fruition, it would fit into a string of recent large development projects in the county—from a 1.5 million-panel solar facility under construction in western Spotsylvania to the four-story, 450,000-square-foot Fredericksburg VA Health Care Center being built between Courthouse Road and U.S. 1.
On its website, Wisconsin-based Kalahari says its resorts “deliver a beyond-expectations waterpark resort and conference experience all under one roof.”
If the company opens a resort in Spotsylvania, it would mark the sixth such facility opened by Kalahari. The company operates two resorts in Wisconsin, one in Ohio and another in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.
In 2020, the company opened a resort in Round Rock, Texas, which was touted in a Business Wire story as “the new home to America’s Largest Indoor Waterpark Resort with 223,000 square feet of wet-and-wild fun.”
If Kalahari’s Spotsylvania resort opens according to plans, its indoor waterpark would exceed the size of the Texas facility by more than 40,000 square feet.
Kalahari has flirted with the area before.
In late 2007, the company announced its intention to build a resort and conference center next to the Fredericksburg Expo Center in Fredericksburg’s Celebrate Virginia South.
City officials even traveled to Kalahari’s Sandusky, Ohio, facility as interest in the project grew. But the global financial crisis ensued, leaving Kalahari unable to finance the estimated $260 million park.
Years later, in 2012, Kalahari started looking at building a resort in the Poconos. That park opened in 2015.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
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