A planned $300 million resort and entertainment district was announced for Osage Beach last week, and local officials and developers hope to open the gates of the future tourism hotspot in less than two years.
St. Louis-based Tegethoff Development and SkyView Partners formally submitted plans with Osage Beach for the project, called Oasis at Lakeport, on Thursday. The project is to be developed at U.S. 54 and Jefferies Road, adjacent to the Grand Glaize Bridge. The property has been owned by Big Thunder Marine, with owner Fred Ross saying the project was the culmination of a multi-year effort to develop a family-focused entertainment hotspot in the Lake of the Ozarks area.
Oasis is slated to include 20 acres of amusement rides and attractions -- including a 200-foot observation wheel and roller coasters -- and an amphitheater, a marina, hotels and a boardwalk. Officials project it will create 500 new jobs and draw in 500,000 visitors to the community.
The project is set to begin construction next year and open in the summer of 2024, a news release stated.
Osage Beach Mayor Michael Harmison said that the time was finally right to make the announcement and that feedback had been overwhelmingly positive from the community.
"We've been looking for a way to make this community more family-oriented. There are plenty of things to do for adults here, but if you're talking about something that might appeal more to people who are 18, 19, 20 years old and what they want to do? I think this would fit that," Harmison told the News Tribune. "There are also going to be kids here that don't want to work at a bar or a dock in the summer, and this gives them another option for a job, too."
He said there had been concerns voiced about meeting that workforce need, as well as a common discussion point the Jefferson City community has been facing recently: housing. He said his community was working toward meeting both needs in tandem with this expansion, with other housing developments already in the works from Tegethoff to meet the community's needs.
Jeff Tegethoff, founding principal of Tegethoff Development, said in a statement the project "furthers my commitment to this community and its future."
Harmison said the development team came to the city with the idea after the community had undergone a search for tourism growth potential. While there were some concerns voiced on social media that this development would eliminate the tranquility the lake area provides, he said the city didn't view that as an issue.
"We lost that 20 years ago," he said. "We're not a quiet lake anymore, and a majority of people realize the positive impact this could have for the city and the surrounding area."
He also said the developers would be paying for the project themselves, without the use of upfront bonding. There is still an approval process and requests to be made by the team, but SkyView co-managing partner Todd Schneider said the goal was to get those administrative tasks under way as quickly as possible to get the gates open by Memorial Day 2024.
With zoning work and public hearings on the horizon, Schneider said the stakeholders were all on board with the project. He said a timeline, as far as local government work was concerned, should be revealed in the coming weeks, but the goal was for infrastructure work to begin in the spring. Rides will be constructed off-site at the same time, he said, with the year-long construction projects aiming to hit the Memorial Day target.
Schneider said Oasis would be similar in concept to Branson Landing -- with free front-gate admission, food and drink options, pyrotechnics and fountain shows -- but with a focus on amusement park rides rather than shopping.
The development team also hopes to team with the state for economic development incentives to help the project along. Schneider said the state was following the project closely and that there was an opportunity to work on a broader scale to support the development.
"This is a good partnership with the state and the city to make the family-friendly attractions that we're going to deliver a reality," he said. "The state's excited, and it's a major project for the community and the whole state."
Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, who serves on the Missouri Tourism Commission, was named as a supporter of the project. Spokeswoman Gabby Picard said his office believes the project would have a large positive impact on local tourism and the state as a whole.
Osage Beach Economic Development Specialist Mitchell Moon said plans and other news would be unveiled in the near future. For more information on the project, visit oasisatlakeport.com.