Below are additional questions and answers about the proposed Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, including information about ownership and project benefits to Round Rock.
The project will include a minimum of 975-room family resort and 150,000-square-foot convention center on about 75 to 100 acres with a 200,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor water park. The height of the proposed hotel is planned to be significantly shorter than is currently allowable under the approved Bison Planned Unit Development. A 15-story hotel is allowed currently. Updated Dec. 9, 2016
At its peak, we expect Kalahari to attract up to 1 million visitors annually, if the Round Rock resort and convention center performs as well as other Kalahari locations. Many will come for multi-day conventions and meetings and bring their spouses and families. Kalahari has always worked with the local tourism industry in each community to enhance their marketing and promote packages for tours of the region’s attractions.
Yes, many of the resort’s offerings will be open for local patrons to enjoy.
Kalahari will own and operate the resort and indoor/outdoor water park. The City will own the convention center for a period of time to take advantage of unique financing options, but Kalahari will operate it. A management agreement between the City and Kalahari will be voted on by the City Council at a later date. Updated Dec. 9, 2016
The Convention Center will provide large-scale meeting and exhibition space currently unavailable and represents a valuable new industry for Round Rock that improves our economic diversity. The City will issue bonds to provide $40 million in net proceeds to construct the Convention Center. We plan to use select State and City tax revenues generated by Kalahari to repay the bonds. The City will own the convention center, but will enter into an agreement with Kalahari to manage it. The lease will provide that Kalahari is responsible for all operation and maintenance costs. When the debt associated with the issuance of the bonds is retired, the City will convey the convention center to Kalahari at no cost. Updated Dec. 9, 2016
Due to a favorable state law, if the City owns the convention center, the resort hotel qualifies for approximately a $50 million state rebate, which comes back to the City, which we anticipate sharing a portion of with Kalahari. This makes owning the convention center for a period of time very advantageous to the City.
Round Rock’s family resort and convention center would be the company’s first Texas resort and first location in the Southwest. Other Kalahari Resorts locations include the company’s first resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (the country’s Waterpark Capital); Sandusky, Ohio; and the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.
Kalahari has a long-standing commitment to eco-friendly initiatives at Kalahari Resorts, introducing state of the art “green” operations that protect the environment. Kalahari Resort-Wisconsin is home to the state’s largest solar hot water system and an Energize Energy Control System that conserves energy. In Ohio, the property introduced a Texion transparent roof system that works as a natural heating source for the indoor water park. The resort also participates in Clean The World. Throughout their partnership, the resort has diverted nearly 40,000 pounds of waste distributed more than 125,000 sterilized soap bars and recycled almost 12,000 pounds of plastic. The Round Rock resort will be designed to incorporate Kalahari’s corporate green initiatives.
There are no current plans to feature live animals at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Round Rock.
Philanthropic efforts are a high priority for Kalahari Resorts and Convention owners the Nelson family. The company supports various initiatives on a global, national and local scale in the markets in which they have a property.