Gov. Whitmer Announces 71 New Jobs Coming to Frankenmuth

Monday, March 6, 2023

Bavarian Inn Lodge expansion will help drive tourism, bring additional tax revenue to community

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to announce funding approval for an expansion project by the Bavarian Inn Lodge that will bring an indoor waterpark and visitors to downtown Frankenmuth with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $80 million and create 71 jobs, supported by a $750,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

“The expansion of the Bavarian Inn Lodge will bring a new waterpark, create good-paying jobs, and build on the vibrancy and amenities that already exist in downtown Frankenmuth,” said Governor Whitmer. “This project is a great example of how we are working together to grow our economy and build vibrant communities for people to live, work, and play. Let’s keep investing in regional economic development and build a strong foundation for long-term opportunity in Michigan.”

“Vibrant attractions in our iconic communities like Frankenmuth are vital to Michigan’s economic success and the well-being of our friends and neighbors,” said Quentin Messer, Jr., CEO of the MEDC and President and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund. “By focusing on downtowns and supporting unique amenities, we establish world-class places that residents and visitors will enjoy. We’re pleased to work with our local partners in bringing this project to life, which will help Frankenmuth become an even better place for Michiganders to live, work, visit, play and create futures.”

The Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Motor Lodge, Inc. first opened in 1986 and today has 360 rooms with 35,000 square feet of family entertainment center space. The lodge is an attraction destination for visitors from neighboring states including Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Canada. The resort currently employs more than 300 Michiganders.

The resort continues to experience high customer demand and plans to expand its facilities in Frankenmuth. The expansion will include a new building with indoor waterpark and family entertainment space. When completed, the 140,000-square-foot waterpark and family entertainment center will be the largest in the state of Michigan.

“We are truly raising the bar on fun at the Lodge with this next phase of development focused on creating unique attractions and new types of experiences for all ages within our resort,” said Michael Keller Zehnder, President of the Bavarian Inn Lodge. “We are reimagining family fun and see this as an exciting project for all of Frankenmuth. We appreciate the support of Michigan Economic Development Corporation and look forward to future partnerships.”

The project supports Michigan’s travel and tourism industry and MEDC’s efforts to market the state as a world-class business location and travel location. The Bavarian Inn Lodge believes in promoting its employees from within and provides extensive training to help employees develop skills to further their careers. The project will bring immediate jobs to the area and will help drive additional tourism to Frankenmuth.

Saginaw Future Inc. assisted the company with securing the MBDP grant. For information on careers with the Bavarian Inn Lodge, visit

“Saginaw Future has been pleased and proud to have worked side by side with the Bavarian Inn Zehnder family and City of Frankenmuth on this significant development, said JoAnn Crary, president of Saginaw Future Inc. “This investment will result in a destination that provides the largest indoor waterpark in Michigan.”

The city of Frankenmuth, known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria for the city’s German heritage and German architecture, is one of the top tourist attractions in Michigan. Local businesses work together, and the additional waterpark will help drive additional tourism, bringing new jobs and additional tax revenue to the community. Frankenmuth's two largest industries are retail and accommodation and food services.

“The city of Frankenmuth is one of Michigan’s most popular destinations, and the Bavarian Inn is one of the top attractions in Frankenmuth,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of MEDC. “We look forward to seeing this exciting new waterpark come to life and further boost Michigan’s reputation as a top destination to live, work, and play.”

“The Bavarian Inn is an important business in my district, and I am thrilled with this investment which will help the entire Frankenmuth community" said Sen. Kevin Daley (R-Lum). “Tourism is vital to Michigan’s economy, and I am happy to see that it will continue to be a thriving and growing industry in Saginaw County.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.