For years, developers and planners have tried to figure out the best way to add a waterpark to Mall of America.  The mall already boasts Nickelodeon Universe, the largest indoor amusement park in the country.  Now, plans for a waterpark are getting serious. The city of Bloomington recently selected Provident Resources Group, a national nonprofit to own and operate the attraction.

Under a unique financing arrangement, the nonprofit model allows the City to partner with Provident to “lessen the burdens of government” by undertaking economic development on behalf of the City.  What this means in practical terms is the nonprofit will issue tax exempt bonds and shield the city’s taxpayers from risk.

Thanks to a 30 year partnership with the city of Bloomington, Mall of America continues to expand, grow and renew itself.  Even in a time of turbulence in the retail industry, visitors keep coming helping to fill up nearby hotel rooms and expand  the city’s tax base.  This is the purpose of the tax exempt program the City has landed on.

Kurt Hagen has been dreaming about a waterpark since he took over development for Triple Five 13 years ago.  “We have to give people a reason to come back to Mall of America.  We need to create something that they can’t experience or buy online.”  Mall of America still attracts 40 million visitors each year and part of that success is attributed to the strong draw of entertainment.  In fact, mall managers program 350 to 400 events each year in the courts outside of anchor stores.

Plans for the 250,000 square foot waterpark are under development, but expect the project to contain plenty of unique slides, a large wave pool, areas for groups and families, and entertainment for young people.  The current schedule calls for construction to start next February with an opening a little over two years after that.

For more information, listen to the podcast, Finding the Future.