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Director of International Development

Chicago, Illinois
Job Type
11 Jun 2022


Great Wolf Resorts, Inc., based in Chicago, IL, is North America's largest family of indoor waterpark resorts and, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, owns and operates its family resorts under the Great Wolf Lodge® brand. The first Great Wolf Lodge resort opened in 1997 in Wisconsin Dells, WI. Great Wolf Resorts operates 19 resorts across the U.S and another Great Wolf Lodge location in Niagara Falls, Ontario. These resorts generally feature 300 to 600 rooms and a large indoor entertainment area measuring 40,000 to 100,000 square feet. The all-suite properties offer a variety of room styles, arcade/game rooms, fitness rooms, themed restaurants, spas, supervised children's activities and other amenities.

The company is owned by Blackstone and Centerbridge Partners. Blackstone is an investment management company. Blackstone's private equity business has been one of the largest investors in leveraged buyouts in the last three decades, while its real estate business has actively acquired commercial real estate. As of 2020, the company's total assets under management were approximately $619 billion. Blackstone was founded in 1985 as a mergers and acquisitions firm by Peter G. Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman. Centerbridge Partners is a global investment management firm. Centerbridge, founded in October 2005, now manages $30 billion on behalf of pension funds, university endowments and other wealthy investors. The firm was founded by Jeff Aronson, a former distressed-debt investor at Angelo, Gordon & Co., and Mark Gallogly, who once headed the private-equity business at Blackstone, now the world's largest buyout firm.

The Director of Development will be responsible for the underwriting and financial analysis of new Great Wolf Lodge resorts in US and international markets, including Latin America and Europe. He/She will lead project feasibility analysis, perform financial underwriting and work with colleagues to ensure that the models accurately reflect construction cost, scope and overall business needs as the project evolves. He/She will also assist in developing a strategic plan for the property.

The successful candidate will have direct responsibility for ensuring that financial analysis allows senior leadership to make timely and accurate capital allocation decisions and understand the impact on project and corporate level returns.

This position will report directly to the Vice President, International Development and indirectly to the Chief Development Officer. Given the nature of the position, it is also a requirement that the successful candidate be able to travel extensively.
Responsibilities include the following:

  • Conduct market research in order to determine potential land acquisitions.
  • Develop pro forma financial projections for the new property and model investment returns.
  • Facilitate discussions to identify potential sources of project financing and introduce the project to them.
  • Draft and prepare presentations updating Great Wolf's Executive Management and Investment Committee as to status of projects.

Prospects for this role will have experience underwriting and providing financial analysis for new development opportunities. He/She will have worked closely with an investment committee throughout the early stages of the potential deal and be capable of representing the deal to IC to achieve approval. Experience working closely with construction on scope, budget and schedule is important. Property exposure to resort or hospitality is preferred; however is not an absolute requirement. Additional requirements are noted below:

  • Minimum of five years commercial real estate development finance experience, preferably within the hospitality, retail, restaurant, mixed-use, or entertainment sectors.
  • Alternatively, experience with real estate consulting firms or commercial brokers, with extensive transactional experience in resorts/hospitality would be of interest.
  • Experience with feasibility, underwriting, modeling and financial analysis of developments sites, and the development of complex and multi-faceted projects.
  • Strong sense of urgency, self-starter, proactive.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and prioritize dynamic workload for multiple, concurrent projects while working with high level of urgency/tenacity to drive meaningful progress on each of the opportunities identified.
  • Creative thinker, collaborator and strong understanding of real estate development structures.
  • Problem solving skills.
  • Strong orientation to detail and quality of work.
  • A concise, clear and effective communication style.
  • A strong results orientation, a high energy level, a strong presence, a good sense of humor, a love for work, and a desire to succeed.
  • Superior interpersonal skills:
  • Ease in working with people up and down the organization hierarchy.
  • Naturally adaptive to different audiences.
  • Diplomatically assertive.
  • Strong sense of integrity and ethics. Values entrepreneurialism. Demonstrates strong intellectual curiosity; always seeking new approaches and challenging the organization to new levels of success.
  • Excellent writing and organizational skills, with the ability to produce high quality reports and analysis in a timely manner.
  • Ability to persevere in the face of challenges, and exhibit a relentless commitment to higher standards.
  • Communication of timelines, milestones, decision lead times, and status updates.
  • Demonstrated strong organizational skills.
  • Organized, structured and disciplined.
  • Hands on orientation and mind set.


  • Undergraduate degree required, post graduate degree (MBA, Architecture or Real Estate related studies) preferred.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

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  • Job Reference: 621331997-2
  • Date Posted: 11 June 2022
  • Recruiter: GREAT WOLF LODGE
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Salary: On Application
  • Sector: Administration
  • Job Type: Permanent