SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The for-profit creator of a popular immersion art exhibit has been awarded a $1.1 million economic development grant from the city of Santa Fe and the state of New Mexico.

The Santa Fe City Council gave unanimous final approval Wednesday night to help Meow Wolf build a creative studio at an industrial warehouse, as the company prepares to expand its themed art entertainment into major cities.

Testimonials to the success and creative energy of Meow Wolf from company employees stretched late into the evening.

More than 500,000 people have flocked to Meow Wolf's art exhibit space since it opened in March 2016 at a converted bowling alley.

Santa Fe Republican Party Chairwoman Yvonne Chicoine urged the council to vote against taxpayer subsidies to an already successful business.