By: Will Anderson / Austin Business Journal
A week after receiving a large and complex incentives package from the Austin, Texas, suburb of Round Rock, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions has entered into another tax reimbursement deal — this one with Williamson County and potentially worth more than $800,000 in its first year.
County commissioners approved an agreement Tuesday to return 50 percent of the property taxes generated at the proposed water park and resort on U.S. Highway 79 near the Dell Diamond, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
Similar to its deal with Round Rock, Wisconsin-based Kalahari must invest at least $350 million and hire the equivalent of 700 full-time employees at the 351-acre water park and resort in order to receive the tax rebate from the county.
Kalahari Resorts is the Wisconsin Dells-based company that runs the flagship Kalahari Resort & Convention Center in the Dells. It also has Kalahari resorts in Sandusky, Ohio, and Pocono Mountains, Pa.
Kalahari hopes to build a 200,000-square-foot water park and 975-room hotel in Round Rock — which would be the third-largest hotel in the Austin area. The Fairmont Austin under construction in downtown Austin will soon deliver 1,048 rooms and the JW Marriott nearby has 1,012 rooms.
Kalahari’s tax rebate with Williamson County is set to begin in the 2018 tax year, per the Statesman. The agreement was signed with KR Acquisitions LLC, a Delaware limited liability company representing Kalahari.
Round Rock City Council approved a similar tax rebate and incentives deal with Kalahari on Dec. 15. In addition to waiving some development fees, the city has also agreed to build a 150,000-square foot convention center on the site with $40 million in bonds and invest $30 million in bonded funds to upgrade U.S. 79 to handle expected traffic. The bonds are supposed to be paid back by tax revenue generated at the park.
Round Rock will also buy the land for the water park and resort and lease it back to Kalahari for up to 99 years.