Merlin Entertainments Chief Executive Officer Nick Varney officially announced that LEGOLAND® New York is being built. The gathering took place at the Palacio Catering and Conference Center in Goshen today, Oct. 25, with more than 250 people attending.
After Varney officially announced that LEGOLAND New York will open in 2020, more than 30,000 LEGO bricks were dumped onto the stage by construction vehicles and 1,500 balloons cascaded from the ceiling much to the delight of local school children in attendance.
“We have spent a lot of time building relationships in the community, listening and responding to concerns, and we are looking forward to building a theme park that will enhance the community and be a tremendous neighbor,” said Varney. “I am honored to announce LEGOLAND New York is officially moving forward.”
After more than a year of public meetings and hearings in addition to a thorough and transparent review process by officials, LEGOLAND New York has been granted conditional approval of its site plan by the Town of Goshen Planning Board, allowing it to officially move ahead with building the Park.
At the ceremony, Varney spoke about the uniqueness of LEGOLAND parks and reinforced that Merlin picked an outstanding location to construct its newest LEGOLAND Park.
“We are humbled to join the Goshen community,” said Varney. “I can pledge to you that LEGOLAND New York will be a trusted and valued member of this community. I am thrilled that Goshen is the place where we will build our third LEGOLAND Park in the U.S. – the first in the Northeast. I am eager to continue with our $350 million investment with significant more investments to follow in the years to come, providing Goshen, Orange County, the Hudson Valley and New York State with significant economic benefits.”
LEGOLAND New York anticipates generating $283 million in sales tax and hotel occupancy tax for Orange County over the period of 30 years. The Town of Goshen would receive about $71 million in revenue from the host community fee LEGOLAND will pay and its share of PILOT payments and tax payments.
The Orange County IDA approved 20-year PILOT will provide enormous economic benefits to the Town of Goshen, the Goshen Central School District and Orange County, totaling $87 million in PILOT payments and property tax revenue. Annual payments will increase at 5 percent annually to reach the full assessed value of the property in 20 years. The proposed resort will generate more than 1,000 jobs in addition to 800 construction jobs during its creation.
The Park’s design will build upon the successful models of parks operating in California, Florida, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia, Denmark, Dubai and Japan.
The New York Park will be open seasonally from April 1 to November 1.
Designed for children ages 2 to 12, LEGOLAND is a world of fun and adventure where the emphasis is placed on rides and attractions suitable for families with young children.
LEGOLAND is split into a number of highly LEGO® themed areas, which consist of more than 50 rides, shows and attractions. Attractions include the LEGOLAND Driving School, where kids learn to drive a LEGO themed car. The Dragon “pink knuckle” roller coaster will excite children without being too scary and the LEGO 4D Movie Theater will show a selection of LEGO movies.
Miniland is the heart of every LEGOLAND park and includes cities and iconic landscapes in miniature scale built out of millions of LEGO bricks. Other themed areas include LEGO Friends and LEGO® NINJAGO®.
Additionally, a 250-room LEGOLAND Hotel will be built and open year-round. The Hotel will immerse guests into a creative LEGO world designed to bring children’s imaginations to life with specially-themed rooms. Millions of LEGO bricks will make up the hundreds of LEGO models that will be located throughout the Hotel. The LEGOLAND Hotel is built for kids to take control, with LEGO surprises around every corner.
Empire State Development President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “LEGOLAND New York will further anchor the Mid-Hudson region as a top-notch destination for visitors to New York State and will generate millions in local investment for the Town of Goshen. LEGOLAND New York’s commitment to community partnership – including donating a portion of its revenue to the community, strong educational opportunities and STEAM programming, and workforce training – make this project a win-win for Orange County.”
“Orange County is experiencing significant growth in both job creation and tourism,” said Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus. “From Norwegian Airlines bringing thousands of tourists to Orange County, to Woodbury Common attracting shoppers from around the globe, to the anticipated arrival of LEGOLAND, our economy continues to flourish. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to create a pro-business environment in Orange County.”
“I am extremely pleased and gratified that Merlin Entertainment has chosen Goshen, New York for their LEGOLAND New York Theme park,” said Town of Goshen Supervisor Douglas Bloomfield. “I will work tirelessly with Merlin employees to ensure that the project will proceed on as planned.”
“LEGOLAND New York’s $500 million investment will bring jobs to the region in addition to creating a huge economic multiplier effect we have never seen before,” said Lynn Allen Cione, Orange County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. “To have Orange County – and Goshen — become the home of LEGOLAND New York is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity that we can now say has become a reality. It’s refreshing to see a large business bring wholesome family entertainment to the county. Thank you to LEGOLAND and Merlin Entertainments for picking Orange County, and thank you to the astute elected officials, the Goshen Town Board and Goshen Planning Board who recognized how important LEGOLAND New York will be to this community.”
“LEGOLAND New York will bring new, clean business to the region that will create new jobs and increase sales tax revenue for our municipalities,” said Nancy Proyect, Orange County Citizens Foundation president. “The company will collaborate with our local institutions of higher education to train members of our workforce. Merlin Entertainments and its employees are good corporate citizens who participate in the local community and contribute to the local economy. We welcome them to our region.”
“Orange County, New York boasts amenities to companies of all sizes,” said Maureen Halahan, Orange County Partnership president and CEO. “Its abundance of cultural and recreational offerings are the result of a catchment area in the tens-of-millions, an international airport at Stewart, and the business acumen of economic development professionals and local leaders, particularly in the Town of Goshen. This geographic location is the ideal fit for the new home of LEGOLAND New York. This half-billion dollar investment will catapult Orange County into the international arena of most desirable tourism-destination locations, and the ripple effect is immeasurable. ”
About LEGOLAND Parks
The first LEGOLAND Park opened in 1968 in Billund, Denmark, following by Windsor in the United Kingdom in 1996 and in California in 1999. In 2002, LEGOLAND Deutschland opened. Since 2005, those four Parks have belonged to British-based Merlin Entertainments Group. In 2011, the group opened LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND Malaysia in 2012. LEGOLAND Dubai opened in October 2016 and LEGOLAND Japan opened in April of this year. To learn more about LEGOLAND New York, come to the Community Welcome Center at 6 N. Church St. in Goshen to visit and review plans or visit: www.LEGOLAND.com.
About Merlin Entertainments
About Merlin Entertainments plc Merlin Entertainments plc is a global leader in location based, family entertainment. As Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates over 100 attractions, 15 hotels and 6 holiday villages in 24 countries and across 4 continents. The company aims to deliver memorable experiences to its more than 60 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its c.29,000 employees (peak season). Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information.
About Belvedere Capital
One of the property sellers is Belvedere Capital, a New York City based real estate company, which has owned, operated, and developed more than 20,000,000 square feet of real estate since the mid-1990s. Belvedere was an early investor and pioneer involved in the transformation of the West Chelsea Meatpacking District in Manhattan with the development of the iconic Chelsea Market building and several other neighboring properties. Since then, Belvedere has acquired tens of millions of square feet of residential, retail, and hotel assets across the country.