Local partners and Sony Entertainment could be teaming up to bring a full slate of new amenities to Albertville as soon as 2017. The idea, billed as the “Mall of Entertainment,” could bring everything from a water park, new hotel, restaurant and theme park to Albertville, should city and state leaders swing at the pitch.
According to a website put together to promote the project, and a Star Tribune story posted this week, the development is set for land north of the Albertville Premium Outlets, on the west side of County Highway 19. In all, it will cover 18 acres of land when completed, and include a Mariott Hotel, as well as restaurants and entertainment venues.
Though it will be paired with Sony Pictures, a la Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America, it will not host a theater.
“It’s something that fits within our comprehensive plan, and it will be very exciting to see this move forward,” said Larry Sorensen, Albertville City Council member. “It’s great news for the city.”
Sorensen added that nothing has come before the council or planning committee, but the land is designated commercial space.
One of the three partners in the project – Casey Darkenwald of Darkenwald Industries – discussed the land with the council several months ago, saying his vision for the area was entertainment and hospitality. With the Albertville Premium Outlets providing a destination for shoppers not only from the Twin Cities but from the Dakotas and Alberta, Canada, to the tune of millions of dollars per year, the project seems a perfect fit.Mall of Entertainment’s information page states: “Black Forest LLC is building a world-class entertainment venue in Albertville that will feature an interactive indoor waterpark, an exploration-based out of home adventure, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Back-Lot edutainment experience and a 275 room Marriot Hotel and convention center.
“The destination will be a special place where parents and children go to spend time together while they play, jump, climb, explore, and learn about our world through the incredible and often breathtaking experiences. And when they’re done exploring, they can go behind the scenes of some of the greatest films in history and create their own movies at the Sony Pictures back-lot experience. Finally, when they’re finished with the jungles of Madagascar or basking in the glory of stardom they can cool off in the twin cities only completely interactive indoor waterpark. With multiple days of entertainment, this all-inclusive resort will become a must see tourist destination as well as a local’s favorite.”
The site states Black Forest LLC is a cooperative venture between Darkenwald, Robert Kelly of Roy Anderson Corporation and IP2 Entertainment. IP2 has opened venues like the proposed “MOE” in places such as Manila, Philippines, and Jakarta, Indonesia.
City Administrator Adam Nafstad said Albertville is ready for such a development.
“Albertville is so ideally situated halfway between in St. Cloud and the Twin Cities,” he told the Star Tribune. “The concepts that I am aware of complement the current retail base and food-associated businesses.”
The Black Forest group estimates the new development would create 2,000 jobs between the construction phase and employees needed to manage and operate the complex.