We congratulate our client, The Surland Companies, on the their plans to construct a waterpark/aquatic center in Tracy, California. H&LA prepared the waterpark feasibility study for the project and is pleased that our client received approval for the $41.5 million dollar project from the city of Tracy.
Published by: Michael Ellis Langley/Tracy Press
Published date: August 2017
A local developer will build a $41.5 million aquatic center for the city of Tracy.
The City Council on Tuesday approved a plan submitted by The Surland Cos. to construct an aquatic center with an indoor pool, an outdoor competition pool, waterslides, a fitness center, picnic areas, a rock climbing wall, a splash playground for young children and other amenities.
“This is a communitywide aquatic park for the entire community,” said Les Serpa, founder of Surland.
For years, the city had planned to add more pools for residents. In 1989 and 2000, a community group selected by the City Council, called Tracy Tomorrow, collected public opinion and told the city what amenities people wanted in a swim center. In 2006, Serpa and Surland offered the city $10 million and 16 acres of land in the proposed Ellis development to build a center using that public feedback. In 2014, the city failed to reach an agreement with a private company to build a water park. Finally, in a letter dated May 25, The Surland Cos. offered to design and build an aquatic center instead of the city.
In a special meeting Tuesday, Serpa offered the council some options. The base option included an outdoor 50-meter competition pool, a 25-yard indoor pool, party rooms and a fitness center. The middle option added to that a children’s pool, a spray pad for toddlers, a lazy river and a couple of waterslides, picnic areas and a food kiosk.
The most complex option included all of those amenities along with a rock climbing wall, a family raft ride, an inflatable adventure course that floats on the outdoor pool, a playground and cabanas ringing the attractions.
Barry Long of Urban Design Associates, hired by Surland to design the park, called the last option “distinctive.”
“They’re really designed to encourage people to stay longer, come more often,” Long told the council of the multiple attractions. “The vision for the facility — the community’s vision, your vision — is wonderful.”
Surland also hired Hotel & Leisure Advisors to study the numbers. That company examined eight different California water parks that attracted between 50,000 and 411,000 visitors each year. HLA president David Sangree said the most complex water park option will cost about $41.5 million but offers the city the highest return on its investment — which he estimated at about 96 percent of expenses.
“We are projecting revenues of $2,751,000 in the first year. That is made up of admissions revenues, annual passes, memberships, aquatic licensing classes, a food and beverage base for an outside operator to provide some food and beverage services, rentals and other income and retail revenue,” Sangree said.
Many costs — including personnel, insurance, marketing and utilities — are still unknown. City Manager Troy Brown said Wednesday that the city would spend the next couple of months examining the expenses of running the water park with city employees versus contracting with a private operator to staff the complex.
Sangree said Tuesday that to bring in the most money, the city should look at the aquatic center as a regional facility. He predicted an attendance of 168,000 people from as far as an hour away in the first year.
“You have to market a place like this. You can’t just hold it and assume it will do well. You have to operate it in a creative manner and have a strong marketing and management effort,” Sangree said.
He also predicted that the city would have to subsidize the operations of the facility by about $151,000 in the first year. He concluded that ancillary activities, like the fitness center, would help make the center viable year-round.
“It would allow all residents of Tracy to come and utilize this facility whether they swim or don’t swim and also give the facility a more stable monthly income,” he said.
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