City Manager Kevin Phelps

City Manager Kevin Phelps said the Crystal Lagoons project may break ground by the end of this month.

A tidal wave of hype continues for what is promised as a “one-of-a-kind” entertainment center anchored by a lagoon.

But, even as he promoted the Crystal Lagoons project he proclaimed would be a “game-changer for Glendale,” City Manager Kevin Phelps gave perhaps the first “caution” signs.

Crystal Lagoons is a massive water park, entertainment, restaurant and retail center—with hotels—planned just south of State Farm Stadium.

Phelps told an online audience Dec. 2 the developer is “hoping to be able to break ground before the end of the year. 

“We’re a little bit behind on being able to turn shovels,” he added. Phelps said construction will begin “if not December, the first quarter (of 2021).

“It will be completed by the start of the fourth quarter 2022,” Phelps promised.

Phelps also has delayed a “major announcement” on the Crystal Lagoons project.

In mid-September, he told The Glendale Star, “We’re looking in October to make a couple major announcements. The north end, the anchor hotel, and the south end, the family entertainment center—when we announce what those are and the companies behind them, it will truly give this project amenities you will not find anywhere else in the United States.”

But there was no announcement in October, and a city spokeswoman recently said “there are no updates.”

At the online meeting held by Yucca District Councilwoman Joyce Clark Dec. 2, Phelps again dropped hints:

“We’re going to have some major announcements coming up over the next 30 days,” he said. “The most exciting things, I haven’t talked about yet. The council is aware of those, but we’re not allowed to talk about them yet.”

Clark joined Phelps in the hyperbole. “I cannot emphasize how momentous this project is, not just for the city of Glendale, not just for the West Valley, not just for the state but for the Southwest region,” Clark said.

“There will be no other project like this in the United States.”

While physical attendance was limited to Clark and city staff, the meeting was shown on the city’s Facebook page. The Yucca District includes Westgate Entertainment District, Gila River Arena, State Farm Stadium … and the projected Crystal Lagoons.

Phelps said the Crystal Lagoons project will have 2 million visitors per year.

He said one of the hotels there will be tricked-out with Hollywoodesque special effects, like “3D holograms where it looks like an orca whale is swimming through the hotel. … You’ll hear a rumble, then it will look like the hotel is crumbling from an earthquake.”

He said calling the project a “water park” is hardly fitting.

“This is something no one has ever seen,” Phelps said.

In addition to an 11-acre lagoon, the development will have a large retail space, three hotels with 630 total rooms, office space, and multiple bars and restaurants, he said.

One of two planned movie theaters will have “4D” effects, mimicking smells and the experience of being splashed—and even the restaurants will have special effects.

One restaurant, Phelps said, will have tables and seats “where you’re strapped in and raised 135 feet in air.”

And, he added, “One of the resort hotels is probably the most exciting resort concept I’ve come across in my career. It’s going to be a gigantic attraction.”

Phelps said the project will splash $10 million a year into the city’s funds.

“It’s going to be a tremendous revenue generator—that’s going to help us provide quality services,” Phelps said.