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Hudson Valley News

Legoland New York Is On Track For A 2020 Opening

Reporters and invited guests were granted the first peek at the site for the Legoland New York theme park and hotel in Orange County today. Officials unveiled a model of how the entire park will look. They say Legoland is on target to open in spring of 2020.

Phil Royle is director of development for Legoland New York in Goshen, slated to become the world’s largest Legoland park.

“This is the first opportunity the press and PR got the opportunity to stand on what will be Legoland New York resort today,” Royle says. “So we’re announcing the different lands. We announced our Lego brick model that you can see what this theme park is going to look like, built out of 160,000 Lego bricks over there.”

The eight themed “lands” that will make up the 150-acre Legoland New York Resort include Bricktopia, Knights’ Kingdom and Miniland. Royle says the best components from the other two Legoland parks in the U.S. — in California and Florida — will be combined, and new rides added for Legoland New York. And at an expected cost of $350 million, Legoland New York is parent company Merlin Entertainment’s largest investment in a single park to date. Jay Holt of Holt Construction is the construction manager for Legoland New York.

“There’s about 50 folks here right now just doing purely the site work and prepping for building pads and before we get into foundation work,” says Holt.

He says foundation work should begin soon, by the end of the summer. And in the fall, he says, concrete will be poured for the administration and maintenance buildings, and work on the hotel will begin. He says there will be hundreds on the job by the spring, and by fall 2019, up to 500.

“Fall of ’19 is going to be the most moving parts on site, at any given time,” Holt says.

Royle talks more about the hotel.

“This is the first time that we are opening a Legoland hotel on day one with the theme park opening. That’s never happened before,” Royle says. “This is 250 bedrooms of Legoland hotel opening when we open this theme park on day one.”

The hotel will be open year-round; the theme park from spring to fall. Tree clearing is complete and land levelling is in progress. In May and July, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued Notices of Violation to Legoland New York, citing the discharge of turbid water from the construction site to the Otterkill Creek. DEC is working with the company to resolve the violations cited. Royle says the agency has not fined the company and heavy rains were to blame.

“We’re constantly looking at our plans. The guys are constantly out there fixing and repairing different things. When we move soil from one area to another, we’re changing our storm water procedures plan. And we’re changing those plans constantly,” says Royle.  “So there’s not one defined plan. There’s constant things that we have to do to move, when we’re moving soil around the site And depending on when the weather is coming and what’s in our plan, that’s what we have to do.”

It’s one of many issues that opponents raised early on and in court, trying to stop the project. They argued that it would negatively impact the environment and quality of life, as well as traffic. Julie Estrada is spokesperson for Merlin Entertainments North America.

“Legoland New York is something unique that we’re bringing here,” says Estrada. “There hasn’t been a major theme park in the Northeast in decades.”

Legoland is designed for children ages 2-12 and their families.

Estrada says they’ll take a new approach to parking at Legoland New York.

“Normally you pay for parking as you enter a park,” Estrada says. “We’re having you pay as you leave, hoping to alleviate some of the bottlenecking.”

And those are helicopter sounds. Legoland officials offered their VIP guests and members of the media brief tours of the site. The park is being built as a recent report released by Empire State Development shows that tourism in the Hudson Valley region is a multibillion-dollar industry, with visitors spending $5.5 billion in 2017. The top five sectors experiencing growth between 2016 and 2017 were food and beverage, lodging, recreation, retail and transport.

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