Chesterfield County developer and Chinese partner plan $160 million water park/hotel
Chesterfield County businessman Steve Uphoff announced Wednesday that he is partnering with a Chinese investment group on a project to build a $160 million indoor water park and hotel/convention center.
It would be located on land adjacent to one of Uphoff’s existing ventures, an Uptown Alley bowling center complex, on Brad McNeer Parkway off Hull Street Road.
Uphoff, whose family-owned Uphoff Ventures founded the Uppy’s convenience store chain and two Uptown Alleys, unveiled his conceptual plans for the 400-room hotel/convention center venue with several principals from the Jinma Group from Quanzhou (Fujian Province), China.
Joining Uphoff was Xing Xing Wu, chairman and CEO of Jinma Group. Jinma is reportedly investing in this and other U.S. projects with Uphoff as well as developing a 400-acre site in China for a water park and Uptown Alley.
The conceptual plan was unveiled at the county’s Office of Economic Development. Will Davis, the department’s director, said he wasn’t aware of the project until contacted by Uphoff the day before. “We were hearing the first formal briefing with the press at the same time,” he said of today's event.
The 26-acre tract for the project is properly zoned, Davis said, although Uphoff is yet to begin the formal process of applying for approval of his development plans. “If this all works it would be a nice draw for both the Richmond region and a nice draw when we have visitors in Chesterfield playing sports that they have a venue where they could stay and play. It is a great concept,” said Davis.
The announcement represents the second project with a Chinese investment for Chesterfield since June. China’s Shandong Tranlin Paper Co. Ltd., a pulp and paper company, said at a news conference then that it plans to invest $2 billion for an advanced manufacturing plant – its first in the U.S.— that would employ 2,000 people.
While the two companies and projects are unrelated, Davis said Wu was aware “that the largest new capital investment project by the Chinese in the U.S. announced this year was happening here.”
Uphoff opened Chesterfield’s Uptown Alley, a $21 million entertainment venue, in 2012. Besides bowling, it offers other games, restaurants, and outdoor terraces.
According to Davis, Uphoff likened his new project “to something similar to a Great Wolf Lodge. The water and the amusement park would be inside and then you would have outdoor activities like miniature golf. We look forward to working with him.”