Who’s ready for the beach?
While it’s a little late for the historically hot summer of 2020, a company is pitching Glendale to develop a massive water park complex near Westgate Entertainment District and State Farm Stadium.
At its Tuesday, Sept. 8, meeting, Glendale City Council was asked to approve a “Resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into a development agreement with ECL Glendale LLC.”
While that might sound dull enough, the next lines of the agenda item deliver a splash:
“ECL Glendale LLC entered escrow on 48-plus acres ... to construct a one-of-a-kind unique mixed-use destination attraction. In total the development will include:
• An 11-acre, lagoon-style water park.
• Six hundred thirty hotel rooms.
• Amusement rides.
• Family entertainment center.
• Restaurants and bars.
The development at 95th Avenue and Cardinals Way, south of State Farm Stadium, is also to have office space, retail and movie theaters.
The company pledges to “develop, construct and operate a mixed-use destination containing specialty retail, restaurants, hospitality, class A offices and live entertainment venues, all surrounding a public access Crystal Lagoon.”
ECL Glendale said it is partnering with Crystal Lagoons on the project.
According to its website, “Crystal Lagoons is a U.S. company with offices and locations around the world that has developed and patented state-of-the-art technology that allows crystalline lagoons of unlimited sizes to be built and maintained at low costs, offering an idyllic beach lifestyle anywhere in the world.”
While it may sound like frivolous fun, the project could be a huge moneymaker for the city.
According to City Manager Kevin Phelps’ presentation to city council, “Based on the fiscal economic impact study, the state, county and school districts with which this project is located within, will also realize significant net revenues over the 25-year period.”
Phelps’ report said the city would receive $6 million in sales tax from the project—in its first year.
“Over (a) 25-year period, total estimated revenue to the city is $240.5 million,” Phelps said.
Sales tax revenues would be by far the biggest contributor, at $188 million, with property tax revenue ($13 million) and hotel/“bed tax” revenue of $39 million.
Phelps’ report to city council summarized “community benefits” of the development:
• Serves as a significant revenue generator for the city and all other taxing entities.
• Actively supports one-of-a-kind, destination-based experiential venues that enhance the world-class sports and entertainment district.
• Supports and fosters new tourist-based attraction development in the sports and entertainment district.
• Advances the city vision of the premiere sports and entertainment district as a preferred host for mega events.
• Leverages growth in experiential retail and entertainment year-round with a peak summer season.
• Creates (an) estimated 1,800 net new jobs.
As with many large developments, the city is “spicing” the deal with incentives.
According to Phelps’ report, the proposed agreements with the developer include the following city offerings:
• One-time permit and plan fee waiver of up to $1 million.
• A 25-year “partial” Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET) agreement on the restaurant, theater, amusements, retail and lagoon concessions, with an exemption from property and lease excise taxes for qualifying uses.
Phelps told council that, “as part of the project deal structure, on Sept. 22 the city council is scheduled to take action on the following items to support this project.
Part of the deal also includes Glendale selling a quarter-acre of city-owned land “for its market value,” with an option for the developer to buy an additional 4 acres of city-owned land.
According to agenda material, “The city obtained a third-party fiscal economic impact analysis of the project from Applied Economics.”
That study compared the water park proposal to two theoretical projects, a “retail supercenter” and offices, both with 500 multi-family homes.
“Both of these alternatives yielded significantly lower revenues to the city than the Crystal Lagoons project,” according to the report.
On its website, Crystal Lagoons claims to have “developed a pioneering, innovative, and sustainable technology that has been patented worldwide. This technology allows crystalline lagoons of unlimited sizes to be built and maintained at very low costs anywhere in the world, using a minimum amount of additives and energy.”
The company says its technology “uses up to 100 times less chemicals than conventional swimming pool or drinking water treatment technologies” and “consumes only 2% of the energy needed by conventional swimming pool filtration systems.”