PHOTO: The Wet 'n Wild water park closed in December 2016. (Photo via Flickr/simon17964)
After months of speculation about what would replace the iconic Wet 'n Wild water park that closed at the end of last year, Universal Orlando Resort appears headed in the direction most figured they would.
The theme park has filed plans with the city of Orlando to transform the former water park site into a hotel development boasting as many as 4,000 rooms, according to the Orlando Business Journal.
Citing the documents filed with the city, the Journal reported that "Project 566" could utilize the entire 64 acres that used to comprise the entire Wet 'n Wild complex. In addition to hotel rooms, the new development could house up to three parking garages.
Demolition of the 13-acre water park began at the start of the year.
Assuming the project moves forward, the hotel would join a handful of new Universal hotels and resorts. The 1,000-room Loews Sapphire Falls Resort opened last year, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort will add 400 rooms this year and the 600-room Aventura Hotel is scheduled to open next year.
Citing STR data, the Orlando Sentinel reported Central Florida added 2,243 rooms last year and is expected to add another 1,298 this year. However, the region's inventory is expected to grow by as many as 4,200 rooms in 2018.
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Universal Orlando first announced that Wet 'n Wild would close back in June 2015. Opened in March 1977, Wet 'n Wild is considered the first major standalone water park and peaked in the 1990s prior to facing stiff competition from Walt Disney World's Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
Universal's highly anticipated Volcano Bay water park will open May 25 as a replacement.