The Impacts of Great Wolf LodgeJune 10, 2019
From EB-5 Job Creation to Tax Revenue and Beyond
By: Kyler James – Chief Economist CMB Regional Centers
CMB has had the privilege over the last several years to serve as a funding source for a number of Great Wolf Lodge resorts throughout the United States. During our first Great Wolf Lodge funding (in Garden Grove, California) the use of jobs created as a result of increased visitor activity in an area was considered suspect by many within the EB-5 immigrant investor program. CMB Group 16 funded $116 million and for the first time included jobs created as a result of visitor spending.
The question being asked regarding visitor spending is whether the project will truly meet some unmet demand in an area, or (as in the case of a Great Wolf Lodge) serve as an attractor to the area. With three Great Wolf Lodge projects fully funded and either complete or in the latter stages of completion, the proof of their ability to attract visitors to an area sufficient to meet the requirements for EB-5 are assured. What is more, the transformative nature of these projects can be clearly shown.
A recent article published in The LaGrange Daily News discussed the impacts of the Great Wolf Lodge in this small Atlanta suburb. The article looks at the impact of the Great Wolf Lodge one year after they opened their doors.
With half a million visitors to the resort in the first year – half of which are coming from out of the area – the impacts include an increase in hotel/motel taxes, anticipated at over $3,000,000 for the current fiscal year. In addition, the hotel directly employees 700 local residents between the hotel, waterpark, restaurants, and other facilities.
The impacts of the project extend well beyond just the increased hotel/motel tax, and the direct job creation. As CMB has modeled in each of the three EB-5 funded Great Wolf Lodge projects, the job creation and impacts of the project go well beyond what is felt at the resort itself. From an 8 percent increase in sales tax, to increases in utility payments, the City is experiencing the benefits of increased visitor spending.
Scott Malone of the LaGrange Economic Development Office explained to The LaGrange Daily News the ease with which one can spot the economic impact on small businesses within the community. “As a former small business owner, I spend a lot of time talking with the business owners and the restaurants, and they’ve had probably the most significant impact from Great Wolf being here with regard to business in the community. You go in at any given time during the week or during the weekend, and you can identify the Great Wolf Lodge guests by the wolf ears and the wrist band. So, it is easy to determine the impact that they are having.”
As the Chief Economist for CMB Regional Centers, I have had the privilege to perform economic impact studies on numerous projects. Watching our earliest investments into closed military bases convert these derelict areas into economic powerhouses with more jobs than before the base closures has been fantastic. Now to see a diverse set of Great Wolf Lodge locations have such an astounding impact on their respective communities has been equally enjoyable.
It is, of course, not CMB alone creating these jobs. It is our privilege to work with quality borrowers, developers, governments and communities to create new jobs while assisting our investors through their EB-5 immigration pursuit.
You can read the original article here: