Developer: Waterpark plans progressing
by Kellen Short
Despite delays, developer Steve Moberg says plans are still moving forward to build a 75,000-square-foot indoor waterpark adjacent to Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock.
Moberg said Wednesday he has spent the last several months securing financing through a private lender in Atlanta. He said he hopes to get the financial details finalized in the next month or two before purchasing the land and breaking ground.
"The formalities of getting it from point A to point C -- cash -- is just taking a little bit of time," Moberg said. " ... We are in the final, final, final stages of crossing the T's and dotting the I's on our 22-and-a-half million fundraising for this project."
Moberg originally planned to start construction in April 2013 with an eye on opening in summer 2014. He now is hoping to open the park next fall.
Because of the lag time, the original contract to purchase the 42 acres off U.S. 321 expired July 5, said Chris Robbins of Middle Fork LLC, a subsidiary of Tweetsie Railroad. The property is now back on the market for $5.5 million, Robbins said.
Robbins said he has received interest from other potential buyers but said he would love to move forward with the waterpark project if possible.
"I think it'd be a great thing," Robbins said. "It's what we always wanted to build there before this recession hit."
Aside from the gigantic waterpark, Moberg's plan includes a hotel and conference center, 50 rental cabins, restaurant and shopping.
Within the waterpark itself, plans have expanded. In addition to adding about 15,000 square feet of space, Moberg now hopes to install a 50-foot tower for the slides, which will wind outside the building before dumping swimmers into the indoor pools.
"We will have what the big parks have now," he said.
Moberg said he is now awaiting the completion of a traffic study, a new appraisal and lingering design work before the fun can begin.
The silver lining to the delays, he said, is that the rainy summer likely would have slowed grading and preliminary work, so the project may not be as far behind schedule as it appears.
Moberg said he is excited to get started on one of the few High Country attractions that won't be dependent upon the weather.
"We can't wait to get started, for all of us," he said.