Wilderness in the Ozarks
A $250 million development is underway in Hollister, anchored by the Wilderness in the Ozarks Resort with an indoor/outdoor water park and whole-ownership condominiums.
The development set to open next spring is on the southeast corner of the U.S. 65 interchange in Hollister, adjacent to the planned east-west corridor linking the highway to Eastern Taney County.
"Hollister will go from being a bedroom community to a tourism destination," said Gorden Weathers, spokesman for the Hollister Chamber of Commerce.
Developers of the project are brothers Justin and James Gage of the Hollister Interchange Development Group. Partnering with the Gages is Jerry Crumpler, a former NFL star with the Dallas Cowboys. Crumpler is a developer and investor with more than five million square feet of commercial space in Southern California, Malibu and Ventura County. This is his first Southwest Missouri project.
Wilderness in the Ozarks Resort includes four acres of outdoor water park and a 75,000-square-foot indoor water park with rides including SurfRider and Tornado plus a Wave Pool, four family tubes rides and more. The indoor park will be covered with a special "foil-tec" roof, making guests feel like they’re outdoors. Tanning is possible. More than 400 condominiums will adjoin the water park. The water park is part of 120 acres known as The District. It is the site for a 7,500-seat entertainment center. Also planned is Whiskey Creek Steakhouse, Wyndham Garden Hotel, Cold Stone Creamery, Cody's Convenience Store, Walgreens, a multiplex cinema/bowling center, Wendy's, Arby's and Holiday Inn Express.
Gage also is building 240 apartments behind Lowe's for workforce housing for the 1,000 jobs that will be created by the development, Justin Gage said.
Pete and Pat Helland and Tom and Tim Lucke, founders of Wilderness Resorts, based in Wisconsin Dells, Wisc., will operate the project, said Pete Helland.
Wisconsin Dells, with three million visitors a year, has 10 water parks operating year-round. The Branson area has similarities including its target market, the beautiful scenery and the volume of tourists, Helland said.
Built 10 years ago, Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells is a 900-acre resort complex with the equivalent of 12 football fields of indoor and outdoor water parks. A second will open soon in Sevierville, Tenn., near Pigeon Forge.
The Killian Group will build the project, aiming for completion in 10 months, said Bill Killian, who arrived at the groundbreaking in a sleek, black helicopter.