November 16, 2007
RICHMOND – Governor Timothy M. Kaine announced today that Kalahari Resorts (www.kalahariresort.com) plans to develop a $200 million indoor waterpark resort complex in Fredericksburg, VA. The project is one of the largest economic development announcements in recent history for Fredericksburg and will further amplify the area’s appeal as a tourism destination. Tourism is one of Virginia’s largest industries, generating $17.7 billion in revenue and providing over 208,000 jobs each year.
Kalahari will purchase 49 acres adjacent to the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center (www.fredericksburgexpocenter.com) to build an authentically African-themed waterpark resort. The resort will be a 125,000-square-foot waterpark with 100,000 square feet of conference and event space and 700 guest rooms and suites. In addition, Kalahari Resort-Fredericksburg will feature a luxurious Spa Kalahari, a variety of dining, nightlife and retail offerings. A December, 2009 opening is planned, dependant on final approvals.
“This announcement is positive for Fredericksburg and the entire Commonwealth,” said Governor Kaine. “Resorts of this caliber, combined with our history, heritage and cultural destinations, help make Virginia a top tourism destination and bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue for our state and local economies.”
The new resort will be located off of Interstate 95, in the Celebrate Virginia area of the City of Fredericksburg and Stafford County. Celebrate Virginia (www.celebratevirginia.com) spans 2,400 acres along the Interstate 95 corridor between Washington D.C. and Richmond. It includes 2.4 million square feet of mixed use major retail space, a 1,200 acre corporate campus, the Cannon Ridge Golf Club (www.golfcannonridge.com), the site of the future United States National Slavery Museum (www.usnationalslaverymuseum.org), numerous additional hotels and the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center.
“The City of Fredericksburg is pleased to hear that a Kalahari Resort is planning to make their east coast debut at Celebrate Virginia,” said Mayor Thomas J. Tomzak. “We view this important project as the cornerstone of efforts to attract even more tourism venues to the city as we become an east coast destination.”
Kalahari Resort-Fredericksburg will be the company’s first business venture outside the Upper Midwest. Kalahari’s authentically African-themed properties in Wisconsin and Ohio draw more than two million visitors to their respective markets annually.
According to Kalahari President and Owner Todd Nelson, the Fredericksburg/Metro Washington D.C. location and landmarks make Fredericksburg’s Celebrate Virginia tourism area a prime location for a third Kalahari property. “Celebrate Virginia is an amazing, well-planned destination with a large variety of offerings for business and leisure visitors as well as local guests,” said Nelson. “What’s exciting is that Kalahari-Fredericksburg will be unlike any recreation destination in the Mid-Atlantic.”
To finalize details of the transaction, Kalahari is working with Metro Washington, D.C. and Boca Raton, Florida-based developer, Silver Companies (www.silvercompanies.com).
“Kalahari Resort will anchor the tourism district being developed at Celebrate Virginia,” said Silver Companies CEO Larry D. Silver. “We have always envisioned Celebrate Virginia as the ideal base from which families can tour the many historic and recreational attractions throughout Virginia and Washington D.C. Now we have the critical element needed to become a ‘home base’ for vacationers — a venue that is fun for the entire family.”
Gordon Hickey works for Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine (www.governor.virginia.gov) and can be contacted at (804) 225-4260.