The bricks have fallen into place, and Legoland will be coming to upstate New York in 2020. Despite local opposition groups, a change in the preferred host community, and two years of uncertainty, United Kingdom-based Merlin Entertainment has announced that the third Legoland in the United States and the first in the Northeast will be built in Goshen, New York. The site is just an hour or two from most parts of Connecticut and 60 miles north of Manhattan.
There are no indications that Connecticut was ever seriously considered for the theme amusement park. Currently, there are two operating Legoland locations in the U.S., in California and Florida.
The $500-million amusement park and hotel are scheduled to be built on 500 acres right off Route 17 near exit 125 in Orange County, New York. Legoland anticipates generating $283-million in taxes for Orange County over 30 years, more than 1,000 jobs at the park and 800 for construction.
In 2015, Merlin Entertainment had tried to build in a nearby community, but the plan fell through. They next turned to Goshen, a small community with a population of just over 5,000. New York will support the project by investing $18 million, according to published reports, improving the current road infrastructure, upgrading traffic signals and building a bridge over Route 17. The project will also receive $7.1 million in grants through the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative and $8 million through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.
The timing of the announcement followed a planning board vote in October, approving an umbrella resolution for its site plan, and permits to clear and grade the land. The review process took 17 months. The proposed Legoland theme park in Goshen had cleared a major hurdle in September when the Town Board amended Goshen’s comprehensive plan to allow commercial entertainment. A year ago, the plan was in doubt due to a variety of concerns raised locally, from traffic to environment to history.
“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 Merlin Entertainments Chief Executive Officer Nick Varney. “I am honored to announce Legoland New York is officially moving forward.”
Merlin Entertainments, the developer of Legoland in New York, is one of the largest entertainment company operating in Europe, operating 123 attractions in 24 countries across four continents. About 2 million visitors annually are projected for Legoland New York, with the facility to be open each year from April 1 through Halloween.
The design of the New York location will build upon parks operating in California, Florida, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia, Denmark, Dubai and Japan, where the most recent Legoland debuted.