The Fitchburg City Council unanimously approved a special permit authorizing an expansion at Fitchburg's Holiday Inn and CoCo Key water park at a meeting Tuesday night, according to the city clerk's office.
The permit application was filed by Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Resorts, which has agreed to purchase the hotel and water park, located off Route 31 on Royal Plaza Drive. Great Wolf said it will rebrand the water park and expand the hotel resulting in a "family-friendly resort" intended to provide a "self-contained family vacation experience," known as Great Wolf Lodge.
Great Wolf said it plans to convert the existing hotel convention center into 81 guest rooms and add others in the existing hotel, bringing the number of rooms from 245 to 406. Great Wolf also plans to double the size of the water park to 55,000 square feet.
Great Wolf Lodges have a "Northwoods" lodge theme, the company said, featuring exposed timber beams, stone fireplaces and mounted wolves. Target customers are families with children ages 2 to 12, according to the company's most recent financial filings.
The company already operates 11 other resorts outside Massachusetts, but the Fitchburg project will be the its first New England location. It will be the third time the hotel and water park have changed hands since 2008 when Sage Hospitality Group purchased and renovated the hotel and built the water park. The hotel was a Courtyard by Marriott under Sage, but changed to a Holiday Inn under its current owners, Durga LLC of Michigan.