Stab Magazine | What Do $45 Mil, Florida, Artificial Waves And 3 WSL Events Have In Common?

What Do $45 Mil, Florida, Artificial Waves And 3 WSL Events Have In Common?

Take a wild guess!

Words by Jake Howard

On the docket tomorrow, the Palm Beach County Zoning Commission will be looking at plans to build “Surf Ranch Florida.” 

News of the purposed aquatic facility broke early this year, but details are coming into clarity on the heels of the successful Future Classic in Lemoore.

Here’s the skinny: The WSL and development group AW Asse Management are working to rezone a nearly 80-acre outdoor entertainment area with the Surf Ranch serving as the focal point. The actual surf park would feature a 16-acre lagoon, a 10,000-square-foot “learning center,” a 5,000-square-foot training center and another 31,000 square feet of building space for retail and restaurants.

The application states that the WSL would hold two or three “major competitions” at the ranch. Could we soon be saying goodbye to the Rio Pro the U.S. Open? Probably not.

The WSL anticipates the events would draw over 50,000 a year, as well as a national TV audience. They estimate they could lure in 5,000 per day to watch the wave machine work its magic.

Screen Shot 2017 10 04 at 3.16.20 PM

Only a scornful soul doesn’t adore an artist’s rendition of a Kelly Slater wonderland!

Besides the technology, the biggest hurdle in wave pools is their economic viability. Simply obtaining the license to build the park is rumored to cost $25 million, and that’s before breaking ground. It’s not a cheap undertaking. But based on an economic impact report by the Washington Economics Group, the Surf Ranch Florida would create 307 direct jobs and $45 million in direct economic impact during construction. After the park opens they expect it to support 236 jobs with a direct economic impact of $22. Another 100 jobs and $11 million are anticipated to come via surrounding businesses, including tourism and employee spending.

After tomorrow’s meeting, the final hearing for Surf Ranch Florida will take place on Oct. 26…after that, the surf forecast in the Sunshine State could be looking a whole lot better.

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