ALBERTVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — The City of Albertville is considering a brand new family theme park to be built right next to the outlet mall.
A Minnesota-based development group is pitching the idea for a 300-square foot development that would include a theme park based on Sony movie characters like the “Smurfs” and “Men in Black.” As city officials told our Nina Moini, the idea could bring in jobs and development, but has a long way to go before it comes to life.
Halfway between St. Cloud and Minneapolis sits the anchor of the area’s commercial retail community, Albertville Premium Outlets.
“Today I bought 4 shorts for my husband, $8 apiece and he always wears the same ones,” shopper Linda Comb said.
An estimated five million shoppers like Linda Comb stop in each year. Just down the street overlooking Interstate 94 on 18 acres is where local development group, Black Forest, wants to build what they’re calling a “Mall of Entertainment.”
Featuring a theme park, a hotel and indoor water park for an estimated $115 million.
“I think it sounds exciting. It can’t hurt the area and it can’t hurt the mall,” Comb said.
City Administrator Adam Nafstad says while the concept has been in the works for years, the city would still need to consider any impact on residents, taxes and the environment.
“All those things need to be weighed before city can grant approvals,” Nafstad said.
The developers say they’ve secured funding, but didn’t say from where. One of the most appealing parts of the project from the city’s view is the jobs it will create.
Gov. Mark Dayton has expressed support for the project that could potentially create 2,000 jobs, both temporary and permanent.
While a “Mall of Entertainment” sounds like a great deal for the state, it remains to be seen if developers can sell the idea to people living in the northwest metro.
“It depends what it all has and how it’s going to benefit the community,” Laura Rivard said.
The city says there hasn’t yet been an official request to bring this idea before the city council for a vote. If all goes as planned, construction on the project would begin as soon as this summer and the project would be done by the end of 2017.