Home Economic Development Legoland developer announces $500 million plans in Orange County

Legoland developer announces $500 million plans in Orange County

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Legoland might be coming to Orange County, providing the only theme park of its kind in the Northeast.

Merlin Entertainments PLC, a British-based, American-owned developer and operator of entertainment centers that has built six Legoland resorts around the world, presented plans for a $500 million, 153-acre theme park in Goshen to the Goshen town board on June 14.

The developer expects from 10,000 to 20,000 daily visitors during peak season for a development that could bring 800 construction jobs, 500 full-time jobs and 800 part-time or seasonal jobs to the Hudson Valley.

“We believe this location, just an hour from New York City and approximately three hours from Boston and Philadelphia, is the absolute perfect site for an entertainment brand as compelling as Legoland,” said John Ussher, senior divisional director of Legoland Development.

The park would be built on an undeveloped 523-acre site off Route 17 in Goshen and include a 250-room hotel and more than 50 rides, shows and attractions for children ages 2 through 12.

The developer estimated the park could draw 1.5 million to 2.5 million visitors annually, in line with other Legoland parks in the country. The park is expected to draw roughly equal numbers of tourists from outside the region and country, day-trippers and local residents.

The Hudson Valley park would be the third Legoland in North America; the others are in California and Florida. Internationally, Legoland has theme parks in the United Kingdom, Germany and Malaysia. A park in Dubai will open up this fall, followed by Legoland Japan in 2017.

The developer two years proposed to build Legoland theme park in Haverstraw in Rockland County,, but the Haverstraw town board backed away from the project last October after hearing strong opposition from residents. Merlin Entertainments in late 2014 was awarded a $3.1 million economic development grant from the state for its aborted Legoland project in  Rockland.

The developers may have to gear up for at least some of the same backlash from residents in Orange County. A private Facebook page called “STOP LEGOLAND GOSHEN NY” already has more than 1,000 members.

“The noise and air pollution and tremendous traffic congestion, use of limited water and tapping into Goshen sewer system threaten our way of life,” the opposition group said of the development.

In their presentation to town officials, Legoland representatives said the project would require road improvements to roads, including widening roads and renovating exits off Route 17.

Merlin Entertainment said it plans to host a public open house on July 7 to provide more information on the project.

Officials at the Orange County Partnership, a private, nonprofit economic development agency in the county, expressed optimism about the project’s overall impact on the county’s economy.

“From capital investment and job creation to tourism and tax rateable dollars, the multiplier on a project of this magnitude will be a major contributor to our economic stability for years to come,” said Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of the Orange County Partnership.

The largest entertainment company in Europe, Merlin Entertainments operates more than 100 attractions and 13 hotels across four continents and employs about 27,000 people, according to the company’s website.

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