Great Wolf crosses the border into Illinois

April 19, 2017 GMT

Great Wolf Resorts is expanding into Illinois.

The Madison indoor waterpark company has purchased KeyLime Cove, an indoor waterpark resort in Gurnee, just south of the Wisconsin border.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. But a report in February in the suburban Chicago newspaper Daily Herald said the Gurnee Village Board trustees approved financial incentives of up to $18 million for the project.

The report said Great Wolf plans to invest at least $100 million into buying and remodeling KeyLime Cove, expanding the indoor waterpark and transforming the tropical resort into Great Wolf’s Northwoods decor.


The new Great Wolf Resort will be the company’s 17th location. KeyLime Cove closed on Tuesday and will open under its new identity in mid-2018, spokesman Jason Lasecki said.

Gurnee is just north of Chicago, and Chicago-area residents have been among the biggest visitors to Great Wolf in Wisconsin Dells. Lasecki said the company is not worried about a drop in business to the Wisconsin site.

“We feel there is strong enough demand to support both Great Wolf Lodge locations,” he said.

KeyLime was open for nine years, established by Dave Anderson, founder of Famous Dave’s restaurants. In a 2008 interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, Anderson listed Planning Design Build, of Madison; Virchow Krause Capital; and Morrissey Hospitality Cos. of St. Paul, Minnesota, as co-owners of the KeyLime Cove resort.