Great Wolf Lodge might replace KeyLime Cove in Gurnee

  • This was KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort in Gurnee just before it opened in March 2008. The Madison, Wisconsin-based parent company of Great Wolf Lodge is negotiating to buy KeyLime Cove.

    This was KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort in Gurnee just before it opened in March 2008. The Madison, Wisconsin-based parent company of Great Wolf Lodge is negotiating to buy KeyLime Cove. Daily Herald file photo

  • The Madison, Wisconsin-based parent company of Great Wolf Lodge is negotiating to buy KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort near Grand Avenue and the Tri-State Tollway in Gurnee. This is Great Wolf's southern California resort.

    The Madison, Wisconsin-based parent company of Great Wolf Lodge is negotiating to buy KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort near Grand Avenue and the Tri-State Tollway in Gurnee. This is Great Wolf's southern California resort. Courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

 
 
Updated 2/3/2017 1:50 PM

What's billed as North America's largest family of indoor water park resorts plans to move into Gurnee.

Mayor Kristina Kovarik said the Madison, Wisconsin-based parent company of Great Wolf Lodge would purchase KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort, near Grand Avenue and the Tri-State Tollway.

 

As part of the proposed KeyLime Cove takeover, village officials have been told Great Wolf would convert the tropical-themed resort into its signature Northwoods look and significantly expand the water park. Great Wolf would join a tourist attraction roster including Six Flags Great America and Gurnee Mills.

"It's huge," Kovarik said Friday. "It's such a powerful, well-known name. And to select Gurnee as the optimal location for them to enter this (Chicago-area) market just says a lot, very positively, about Gurnee, our economic climate, our business climate, our community."

Great Wolf Resorts Inc. representatives are scheduled to attend a Gurnee village board meeting Monday night, in part, to seek an amended sales tax-sharing agreement that's been in place for KeyLime Cove. Great Wolf boasts of having North America's largest water park-hotel portfolio with 14 properties.

Without addressing specifics about the potential deal for KeyLime Cove, Great Wolf spokesman Jason Lasecki said the company is continually searching for expansion opportunities.

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"The potential to partner with the village of Gurnee is of great interest to us," Lasecki said, "and we hope to continue to work together to evaluate the opportunity to bring a Great Wolf Lodge family resort to the area."

Attempts to reach KeyLime Cove general manager Dale McFarland were unsuccessful.

KeyLime Cove, which debuted in Gurnee nine years ago, has a 65,000-square-foot water park, restaurants, gift shops and 414 hotel suites. Kovarik said Great Wolf is not expected to add hotel rooms.

Nationally known barbecue entrepreneur David Anderson and a cadre of hospitality partners launched KeyLime Cove. Anderson started the Famous Dave's chain.

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