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Kalahari moves ahead on water park plan
Kalahari moving forward with site plan work

View all Fredericksburg-related Kalahari stories.

Date published: 7/15/2009

BY EMILY BATTLE

Kalahari Resorts has given a local engineering firm the green light to draft a comprehensive set of plans necessary to get the proposed 700-room hotel and indoor-outdoor water park under construction.

Kalahari President Todd Nelson said in an e-mail yesterday that he believes he is making progress in his efforts to secure financing for the more than $250 million project amid the nearly frozen credit market that has resulted from the current recession.

Until he gets that financing, a concrete construction start date won't be known, but in the meantime, Nelson has taken a major step toward putting himself in a position to start quickly once he gets the money.

A few weeks ago, Nelson gave Keith Oster, vice president of Spotsylvania-based Prime Design Engineering, the go-ahead to complete the site plan for the massive project.

A site plan is the key document that any construction project needs to get under way. It provides the basis for all of the permits a builder must obtain.

For a project this big, it is a complex document that can take several months to review once it is submitted to the city's building permit office.

Oster said the task amounts to about six months of work for his three-person firm, and is a major boost during a slow economy.

He said he is on schedule to submit the plan to Fredericksburg by the end of this year.

"It's certainly a big financial commitment on [Nelson's] part," Oster said. "The certainty of it being built goes up when I'm asked to do this work. This is a move you make to make certain that when you do get financing, you don't have to wait six months for site plan approval" before starting construction.

Kalahari has also made smaller moves to build its ties to Fredericksburg. The company donated $5,000 to help save the Heritage Festival fireworks this year, according to event organizer Roberta Gold.

Kalahari is the anchor project in the Silver Cos.' plans for the Celebrate Virginia tourism complex.

The Wisconsin-based company plans to build a 700-room hotel and 200,000-square-foot indoor water park on 49 acres in Celebrate Virginia in Fredericksburg.


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