New $250M waterpark next to Mall of America closer to reality

The city is looking toward a final design and construction estimates.
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The 335,000-square-foot waterpark developers want to build next to the Mall of America is one step closer to reality.

The Bloomington City Council and Port Authority approved a $10.1 million contract Thursday to continue scoping the project for the South Loop area. It means they'll work with co-developers and MOA owners Triple 5 on considering a final design, estimating construction costs, and other feasibility questions.

This doesn't guarantee the waterpark will be built, nor does it commit the city to the project. But it is a key step toward making it a reality.

The proposed waterpark would cost $250 million and, when finished, be one of the largest indoor waterparks in all of North America. (We previously wrote about how it's being paid for and the tax ramifications here.)

It would be built in the big parking lot across from IKEA, with a skyway attaching the waterpark to the Mall of America via the Marriott Hotel.

A site plan overview of the proposal.

A site plan overview of the proposal.

If everything goes as planned, work on the waterpark could start as early as spring 2020, with an expected completion some time in 2022.

The building's footprint would be 225,000 square feet, but in total, the multi-story structure would come in around 335,000 square feet.

Unsurprisingly, the nearby Great Wolf Lodge doesn't think the idea of a nearby competing waterpark is all that great.

The MOA is currently about 70 percent retail, and has wanted a waterpark "for years," according to council documents, as it looks for "new traffic generators" to diversify its holding amid the shift to online shopping, with hotels and office space also a part of that strategy.

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