Merlin Entertainments has announced that it will build a Legoland Park in South Korea, scheduled to open by 2022, in a partnership with the Gangwon Provincial Government.
The theme park will open with a fully themed Legoland Hotel, and will employ 1,600 people.
Legoland Korea will be situated on the island of Hajungdo in Chuncheon. It will be one hour east of Seoul, and within 2-hours of nearly 24 million people.
The total cost of the resort is expected to be KRW 290 billion (£205 million). KRW 210 billion (£148 million) will be invested by Merlin, and the remaining KRW 80 billion will come from LL Developments, the investment arm of Gangwon Province. The park will be fully owned and operated by Merlin.
The project was officially announced in 2014, with a 2017 opening date, but construction came to a halt after prehistoric ruins were discovered at the site.
Opportunity for 20 Legoland Parks
Legoland Korea will be Merlin’s tenth Legoland theme park, following Legoland New York’s scheduled opening in 2020.
Merlin is in advanced discussions with third parties about a number of sites for Legoland Parks in China. The company says it sees opportunity for 20 Legoland Parks around the world.
Nick Varney, Merlin’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “It’s been long in gestation, but I’m delighted that we are now in a position to move forward with opening Legoland Korea Resort. We know Koreans love theme parks and love LEGO, and together with the Gangwon authorities, we have already established an attractive and well-connected site in Chuncheon. We look forward to accelerating progress with our partners who have contributed significantly with funding and infrastructural support, and to welcoming our first guests to Legoland Korea Resort.
“We remain excited about the potential of Legoland Parks, the roll out of which is a strategic growth driver for Merlin, and we continue to look at opportunities for further sites around the world.”
National, regional and local governments will provide funding for additional infrastructure adjacent to the resort.
The Korean Government, Gangwon Province and Chuncheon City have invested in the construction of a new bridge to Hajungdo island and undertaken groundworks on the site. Retail and complementary leisure offerings are planned as part of the development of the island.