Citing 'Messed Up' Economy, Developers Delay Rhode Island Water Park, Hotel Project

Omaha, Neb.-based Dial Family Resorts, which announced plans earlier this year to develop a $150 million resort and indoor water park in West Warwick, R.I., has put the project on hold while it looks for additional funding, it announced earlier this month. The project—a Hawaiian surfer-themed resort called 7th Wave—was to include 409 hotel rooms, a 75,000-square-foot indoor water park and 12,000 square feet of meeting space.

"We're still looking for funding," Dial spokesperson Michael L. Day recently told local paper The Providence Journal. "The market has been kind of messed up the last month or so."

Work on 7th Wave was expected to commence in September and has been in planning stages for more than two years. Developers were forced to put the project on hold indefinitely this month, however, while they attempt to obtain a $105 million loan—money they had previously secured, but lost when their financial backers pulled out. Because of the country's economic crisis, finding new backers has proven difficult. The soonest that work will continue, therefore, is spring 2009, according to Day.

"It's still a great project," he said. "It's still a great location."

According to The Providence Journal, 7th Wave was originally projected to generate more than $32 million in hotel, meal and property-tax revenue over the course of 25 years for the City of West Warwick, which currently receives $36,000 a year in property taxes from the land on which the resort will be built.

Despite the difficult market conditions, city officials remain optimistic about the future of the project, which would help West Warwick attract business and leisure travelers alike. "It's still good economic development for the community and the State of Rhode Island," Town Manager James H. Thomas told the Journal, "and I'm confident that once the credit market loosens up and we get a new president and Congress focusing their energy on the economy, that this will become a reality."