Great Wolf, Tamarack condo projects move ahead

TRAVERSE CITY – Expansion plans at the Great Wolf Lodge are moving forward, although a fall construction start could not be confirmed.

Company spokeswoman Jennifer Beranek said in mid-September that the Traverse City resort is still planning an expansion that includes the addition of 64 private condominiums and is currently engaged in the pre-sale of those units. She also said the previously announced expansion of its 38,000 square-foot water park and construction of a conference center is also slated. She would not release any other specific details about the expansion project or the timeline other than to say that designers and developers are still in the planning stages.

There has been speculation that the scope of the expansion plans at Great Wolf have changed or that some parts of the project are shelved. Dennis Habedank, zoning administrator for Garfield Township, said he has not heard anything recently from Great Wolf Lodge officials in terms of original expansion plans being changed.

Calls to Rex O'Connor, the director of sales and marketing for the Traverse City resort, were referred to the corporate office in Wisconsin.

The resort currently spans 360,000 square-feet and opened in March 2003.

Meanwhile, another area resort is eyeing a groundbreaking for summer '07 for the second phase of its development. Tamarack Lodge opened in early July with its first building on East Bay at the intersection of U.S. 31 and Four Mile Road. The resort's development plans call for four total buildings on 800 feet of bay frontage.

Currently, the main lodge includes 29 condos with 1, 2, and 3-bedroom floor plans from 544 to 1,622-square-feet. The resort offers fractional ownership. Buyers can purchase a certain number of weeks a year and they own that specific interest in a unit, or they can purchase other fractional options or the condominium outright.

Of those 29 units, 30 percent are sold, said General Manager Peggy Whiting. The rest of the rooms are part of the public rental program.

Whiting said the timeline for next summer's construction depends on the sales volume in the spring. It will continue in the Arts & Crafts theme of the main building and will have 20 condo units and an indoor/outdoor pool, spa, hot tub, fitness center and arcade. Building should be completed the following summer.

The remaining two buildings are planned for subsequent years, said Whiting, and those buildings will be all condos. BN