Indoor waterpark resort planned for Pittsburgh Mills

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The Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills has received a letter of intent from an indoor waterpark developer.

Great Wolf Resorts Inc., of Madison, Wisc., officially confirmed this morning a much-anticipated deal that would bring an indoor waterpark resort adjacent to the 1.1 million-square-foot mall in Frazer. The resort will be developed by Zamias Services Inc., the Johnstown company that owns the mall.

According to this morning's statement, Great Wolf will receive license fees for use of the brand name and management fees to operate the resort. The resort will be owned by a joint venture, with the company receiving a small minority equity interest, something that Great Wolf has done in other locations as well.

"As part of the company's long-term strategy to pursue license-and-management transactions, we are very excited about the development of a new Great Wolf Lodge resort which will be connected to The Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills. The resort will provide the area's many residents a distinctive and memorable year-round vacation experience," said Kim Schaefer, chief executive officer, in a prepared statement.

The Wisconsin company has a number of locations, including sites in Sandusky, Ohio, and Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The company described its site as "family-oriented destination facilities that generally feature 300-600 rooms and a large indoor entertainment area measuring 40,000-100,000 square feet. The all-suite properties offer a variety of room styles, arcade/game rooms, fitness rooms, themed restaurants, spas, supervised children's activities and other amenities."

Talk of bringing an indoor waterpark to the Pittsburgh Mills mall was first reported last year. An attraction like a waterpark might help to bring traffic to the mall, making it a destination even for those beyond the immediate area.

The mall has struggled to fill its space since opening in 2005, in part because of ownership issues. The recession didn't help either, as malls around the country saw a number of retailers either pull back or go out of business.

The announcement did not say when the resort would open.


Teresa F. Lindeman can be reached at tlindeman@post-gazette.com or at 412-263-2018.


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