Collier County agrees to pay Great Wolf Lodge $15M in taxpayer money

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: Great Wolf Resort.

A multi-million dollar resort is becoming a reality with the help of taxpayer dollars.

A massive Great Wolf Lodge is planned in Collier County, bringing fun for the whole family but a big bill too.

Many trees next to the Paradise Coast Sports Complex, located at 3940 City Gate Blvd. N., will soon turn into a Great Wolf Lodge.

The $250 million project will bring a 550-room resort with an indoor water park to the area.

However, it comes with a price tag for locals because Collier County Board of County Commissioners agreed on a $15 million incentive for the resort to be paid overtime by taxpayers.

“I don’t think they need a $15 million Christmas gift of taxpayer money,” Commissioner Rick LoCastro said. “They were going to build anyway.”

LoCastro was the lone vote against the incentive idea. While he believes the lodge will bring positives to the area, including more visiting families and jobs, he feels it’s not worth it financially.

“I don’t see those people coming over to the sports complex and renting one of our big giant fields or utilizing the stadium, and that’s what we were looking for is cohesion and synergy with something on that piece of property that would feed the sports complex,” LoCastro said.

FGCU economist Victor Claar told us anyone living in Collier County should be curious about whether the benefits of the lodge are as advertised.

“The numbers don’t always seem to turn out quite as nicely as the estimates promised at the beginning,” Claar said.

The county manager’s office told us, if the lodge changes its plans and fails to open by February 2026 or closes within 10 years of opening, the county will get its investment back.

Lisette Santos-Garcia has lived in the area for close to 20 years. She believes the resort is worth the price of admission.

“I don’t think it’s too much to ask for, for something they’re bringing down,” Santos-Garcia said. “And it’s going to benefit the city.”

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