Mountain Creek indoor water park plans still developing


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Mountain Creek owner Andrew Mulvihill says he hopes to break ground on an indoor water park project in the next 18 months.

But he first needs to get funding for the plan that is estimated to cost $200 million. He has earlier said the project would cost $120 million to $140 million.

“We are working really hard to get the capital ready,” Mulvihill said Tuesday. “I’m optimistic we’ll get it done.”

Mountain Creek first discussed the project in a meeting with town officials in September. It includes a 100,000-square foot water park, a 400-room hotel, and a 40,000-square-foot indoor action sports park.

The indoor park and hotel would be an important addition to Mountain Creek because it would help the resort overcome one of its most difficult challenges: dependence on the weather.

At the time, Mulvihill estimated that when completed, the indoor water park and hotel would generate about $1.6 million in annual tax revenue for the township. Currently, Mountain Creek pays $15,500 on the undeveloped parcel, of which the township only receives $3,100 after the taxes are shared with the Vernon Township School District and Sussex County.

Mulvihill is seeking tax breaks for the project under a Payment In Lieu of Taxes plan. If approved, Mountain Creek would pay a portion of the tax for a specified period.

Mulvihill estimates Mountain Creek would make a $3.24 million PILOT to the township. Vernon would likely keep 30 percent or $972,000, the school district and Sussex County would get 5 percent or $162,000, and 15 percent or $486,000 would go toward Mountain Creek's sewer debt.

Meanwhile, the remaining 45 percent would go toward Redevelopment Area Bond, which would be used to service the bond for a portion of the project.

The water park and hotel is proposed for the area bordering Route 94 and Sandhill Road, where it would be within walking distance of the ski slopes. Mulvihill hopes to develop the Appalachian Lodge area with stores and restaurants.

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