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New $650 Million Water Park Resort, Spa, and Sports Complex Coming to Palmer

PALMER — A proposed $650 million water park resort, spa, and sports complex, featuring a massive year-round whitewater tubing river park, is being planned on 250 acres of land near the Palmer exit of the Massachusetts Turnpike. The complex, featuring indoor/outdoor sports facilities, a resort hotel, and two indoor water parks, aims to draw individuals, teams, tournaments, exhibitions, entertainment, and athletes from the U.S. and around the world.

Development and construction group Skanska USA has joined as project manager. The company built Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, and has a global footprint. In the U.S., Skanska operates within the commercial property, construction, and public-private partnership arenas.

The project development team has also been announced. The Palmer Sports Group consists of Winthrop “Trip” Knox, who has been involved in the design and construction of more than 3,000 water-related facilities for water parks, resorts, and deluxe hotels, including many of the water features at destination resorts in Orlando, Fla. Knox has also received recognition for designing the luge and bobsled runs for the 1980 Winter Olympics held in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Michael J. D’Amato, also of the Palmer Sports Group, managed the construction of the later phases of the Foxwoods Resort Casino development, including the Grand Pequot Tower. A native of Connecticut, D’Amato also worked on the construction of Connecticut’s tallest building, City Place in Hartford, and oversaw many large-scale projects including the Phoenix Mutual corporate headquarters and Stamford Harbor Park.

“This destination water park, sports resort, and spa will draw visitors from throughout the Northeast,” Knox said. “The strategic location of the resort near the confluence of the Massachusetts Turnpike and close in proximity to Routes 84 and 91 will make it a convenient destination offering sports recreation to meet a growing demand for this kind of recreation.”

In addition to the spa and outdoor river ride, the complex will include an indoor hockey and basketball facility, an indoor sports bubble, a baseball complex, soccer and mixed-use fields, beach-volleyball courts, restaurants, and on-site townhomes.

“We will be working diligently with the town of Palmer and other leaders in the region to bring this game-changing project for Palmer and the Quaboag Valley to fruition,” D’Amato said. “With the recent opening of the MGM Springfield casino, this represents a synergistic project that will draw even more visitors to the Valley, making Palmer the true gateway to all of Western Massachusetts.”

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