By Linda O’Flanagan
The first Legoland in New York is set to be built at Forest City Ratner’s Ridge Hill regional center in Yonkers.
The $12 million attraction, which will open in late Spring 2013, will have Lego landmarks like the new One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building, as well as interactive play areas and a 4D cinema.
“The Legoland Discovery Center concept is already successful in both Europe and elsewhere in the USA, and I know people will love it here in Westchester County. We are also absolutely delighted to be opening in this exciting new development,” said Glenn Earlam, managing director of the Legoland ownership group at Merlin Entertainment.
“I believe that Ridge Hill 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 — a catchment area with a high proportion of families with young children — so exactly the right location for us, and for a LEGOLAND Discovery Center.
“More than that, our experience has shown that bringing together an exciting mix of retail, dining and quality leisure attractions like the LDC creates a whole new element to a family shopping day, delivering significant incremental business to both the mall — and to the area as a whole. Such projects play an important part in Merlin’s future growth strategy for our ‘midway’ or indoor City Center attractions.”
Kathy Welch, senior vice president for Retail Development at FCRC, said “The addition of this fantastic attraction is going to complement the outstanding mix of tenants already in full-swing and those contemplated to be opened by the end of this year.
“Ridge Hill retailers have been attracting thousands of new shoppers daily and we believe that the LEGOLAND Discovery Center is going to add immeasurably to the excitement already being generated and further enhance Ridge Hill’s position as an outstanding family destination.”
Plans and designs are already being drawn up for the 33,000 s/f site and construction is expected to begin in July.
LEGO models for the Ridge Hill attraction will be made in Merlin’s specialist studios around the world and shipped in during construction ready for the opening in 2013. Merlin Entertainments, the world’s second biggest visitor attraction operator, said the new project at Ridge Hill, which officially opened in October 2011, underlines Merlin’s global growth plan, spearheaded by significant development in key regions like North America.
This year, the company will open seven new attractions, including four in the USA. Merlin currently has fourteen attractions in North America including the LEGOLAND Florida theme park which opened in October last year and Madame Tussauds’ wax works in New York.
Ridge Hill is a 1.3 million square foot center offering a mix of shopping, dining and entertainment options. It also has 160,000 s/f of office space of which WESTMED Medical Group occupies approximately 110,000 s/f.