Merlin Entertainments, the world’s second largest visitor attraction operator, has announced plans to build a LEGOLAND Discovery Center (LDC) in Westchester’s Ridge Hill Mall. This is the fifth LEGOLAND Discovery Center in the US and the first in New York State.
Construction on the 33,000 square-foot site is expected to begin in July. Merlin’s specialist model making studios will be making the LEGO models for the $12 million Ridge Hill attraction, ready for the opening in late spring 2013.
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Glenn Earlam, Managing Director of Merlin’s Midway Attractions Operating Group, said, “We are also absolutely delighted to be opening in this exciting new retail development. Ridge Hill provides an exciting mix of retail, dining and quality leisure attractions like the LDC and I have no doubt that is destined to become a very popular leisure ‘destination’ not just for local Westchester County family visitors, but also for those from the greater metropolitan area of New York - a catchment area with a high proportion of families with young children - so exactly the right location for a LEGOLAND Discovery Center. .”
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the developer - Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) - for its support. We are already working with FCRC in Manhattan where we have a major Madame Tussauds wax attraction, and I hope that this will reinforce what is already a successful working relationship. Indeed the enthusiasm with which this project has been greeted by FCRC, and particularly the Ridge Hill development team, and the quality of the overall development were key factors in our decision to come here. Our plan now is to start work on the site later this summer in order to open as early as possible in 2013, which we expect to be late Spring/early Summer.”
Every LEGOLAND attraction includes a bespoke MINILAND exhibit that reflects the iconic buildings in the local area. Kathy Welch, Senior Vice President for Retail Development at FCRC, commented that “Here in Ridge Hill we understand that this will include buildings from the Manhattan Skyline like the new Freedom Tower and Empire State Building, as well as more local landmarks nominated by the local community. ”
In total Merlin currently has fifteen attractions in North America, including the new LEGOLAND Florida waterpark. This total will become sixteen in June with the opening of a SEA LIFE aquarium in Kansas City, Missouri. Merlin also announced last week that the company plans to open its first attractions in Canada which will also include an LDC.