The opening of Legoland New York was announced by Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments chief executive officer at the Palacio Catering and Conference Centre in Goshen.
After a short speech, 30,000 Lego bricks cascaded on to the stage and 1,500 balloons were released before an audience of school children.
“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 neighbour,” said Varney. “I am honoured to announce Legoland New York is officially moving forward.”
The 500-acre theme park, believed to cost around $350m, according to abc news, will feature a 250-room. It’s expected to attract 2 million visitors every year.
The new entertainment centre was granted conditional approval by the town of Goshen planning board after over a year of meetings and reviews.
Critics of the park say the scale of the project is too big, causing increased traffic and affect residents’ quality of life.
Varney spoke of the uniqueness of Legoland parks and stated that Merlin had chosen an outstanding area to build the newest park.
“We are humbled to join the Goshen community,” Varney said. “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.
Legoland New York boosts local economy
“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.”
It’s expected that Legoland New York will help generate $283 million in sales tax and hotel occupancy tax for Orange County over a 30-year period.
Goshen will rake in around $71 million in revenue from the host community fee.
The design of Legoland New York has not yet been announced but it will be looking to capitalise on the profitable models of other parks in Dubai, Japan, Malaysia, Denmark, the UK, Florida and California.
The new park will open from 1 April until 1 November.