Planned Kalahari waterpark resort in Round Rock moves forward

The new indoor water park in Round Rock could look similar to this Kalahari location in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania (Courtesy: WBRE-TV)
The new indoor water park in Round Rock could look similar to this Kalahari location in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania (Courtesy: WBRE-TV)

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — City Council has taken a significant step forward in bringing a nearly 1,000-room water park resort to the city.

Of the 10 agreements making up more than 1,000 pages, the city broke them down into five highlights: 

1. Kalahari Resorts will invest at least $350 million and employ a minimum of 700 people for the resort, convention center and indoor-outdoor water park.

2. All revenue sharing and public debt related to the project will be paid using select state and city tax revenues generated solely by the project, which includes state hotel occupancy tax, sales tax and mixed beverage tax.

The future site of Kalahari Resort south of US 79/Palm Valley Boulevard in Round Rock. (City of Round Rock Map)
The future site of Kalahari Resort south of US 79/Palm Valley Boulevard in Round Rock. (City of Round Rock Map)

3. Kalahari will be built on 351 acres on U.S. 79 across from the Dell Diamond and Old Settlers Park. While the city is buying and will own the land, it will be repaid the approximate $27.5 million in two lease payments. The first payment of $17 million will be made before the property closes Tuesday and the second payment will be for $10.5 million, plus interest, in eight years, according to the city.

4. The state hotel occupancy tax, sales tax and mixed beverage tax generated by the resort will stay in Round Rock to help pay for the project’s public debt and revenue sharing, the city said, attributing this to the work of State Rep. Larry Gonzales.

5. Round Rock will keep 100 percent of the city’s half-cent sales tax for property tax reduction, half-cent sales tax for economic development and roads and 2 percent hotel occupancy venue tax.

Facts and figures

The city of Round Rock estimates Kalahari will open the resort no later than December 2021. The family-owned company first announced its intention to locate its newest park in Round Rock on June 15, 2016. The Round Rock location will be the company’s largest and the first located in the southwestern United States. Kalahari Resorts are currently operating in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, Sandusky, Ohio and Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania.

The Round Rock location will be “authentically African-themed,” the resort says. Between 150,000 and 200,000-square feet of meeting space will be available once the project is completed, equal in size to the 200,000 square feet of waterpark planned. The resort is planned to have 990 guest rooms and suites, a full service spa and an arcade, along with a variety of restaurants and retail outlets.

While the park’s career center is not yet ready, according to the park’s website, anyone wanting to be considered for a job in the future can email their resume to jmanke@kalahariresorts.com.