First came Kansas Speedway, then Village West.
Now make way for the Schlitterbahn.
Tuesday morning, officials broke ground on the sprawling Schlitterbahn Vacation Village complex, set to open next summer in Kansas City, Kan., with the first components of its water resort, lodgings, shops and restaurants.
By summer 2011, the project will be expected to feature a full-scale water park, more than 1,500 lodging units and a mix of restaurants and shops filling some 400,000 square feet of retail space.
The 370-acre project is being constructed near Village West, another retail complex that already includes such megaretailers as Cabela's and Nebraska Furniture Mart.
The Schlitterbahn site is east of Interstate 435, reaching to 94th Street on the east and bounded by Parallel Parkway on the north and State Avenue on the south.
Turner Construction, of Kansas City, Mo., will handle construction management duties for the projected $750 million project.
"We are excited to have Turner's high level of expertise in construction management working on the largest project in our company's history," said David Beardsley, chief executive officer for Schlitterbahn Resorts Worldwide, based in New Braunfels, Texas. "We are delighted to have Turner as part of our team."
Turner comes to the job with experience in the area, having already handled a $140 million contract for management services related to construction of the speedway, then another pact to oversee construction of Nebraska Furniture Mart and a recent expansion.
"We're pleased to continue our involvement in this area with such a unique project that further enhances an established momentum for greater Kansas City," said Dewey Newton, vice president for Turner in Kansas City.
Schlitterbahn opened its flagship park in New Braunfels in 1979. A Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark opened in 2001 in South Padre Island, Texas. The company also has a water park on Galveston Island, near Houston.
Joe Reardon, mayor and chief executive officer of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, has described the project as a "first-class destination resort," saying that the fact "Wyandotte County was selected over other national resort areas is recognition that our community is fast becoming a premiere resort destination area that is attracting millions of visitors annually."
Wet and Wonderful
Schlitterbahn officials say the project will be among the world's largest "tubing" parks, with "miles of interconnected rivers" leading visitors to a variety of attractions:
¢ A Master Blaster uphill water coaster
¢ A covered Riverwalk featuring year-round shopping, dining and entertainment
¢ A Vacation Village with 1,500 lodging accommodations, including a full-service hotel, waterfront cabins and a Treehaus Resort with "elevated pods - all integrated within waterpark attractions"