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Legoland New York Discussion Thread

P. 3: Construction update posted!

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Hey everybody!


This thread is simple! Rather than having a million little threads about everything that goes on at Legoland New York, this thread is designed to consolidate it all into one user-friendly thread. Feel free to use it to post updates, trip reports, questions, comments, and of course, general discussion.


Below are some links to past updates from the park, you may be interested in. Enjoy!






August 20th, 2014 - Merlin considering a New York-based LEGOLAND park (see below)



August 22nd, 2018 - Eight themed lands announced, park opens in 2020!



October 22nd, 2019 - Grand opening date set for Fourth of July 2020!



November 2nd, 2020 - Construction update posted!


Original Post:




Haverstraw has a shot at becoming the home of a $250 million Lego theme park that could bring 2 million visitors to an unused piece of land the town's been trying to develop for years.


Legoland was among the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council endorsements announced last week for 25 proposals submitted to receive state grants.


Along with Legoland, 11 other applications from the Lower Hudson Valley, including the Saw Mill River daylighting project, were endorsed by the council.


Recipients of the total $750 million in funds, which aim to create jobs and stimulate the local economy, will be announced this fall.


The theme park development, proposed for the former Letchworth Village property owned by the Town of Haverstraw, would potentially be followed by a water park, hotel and an expansion of the theme park, according to a press release. A developer is seeking financial assistance for the first phase of the project.


George Lagos of Stony Point, father of four boys — 10, 14, 19 and 22 — said his younger sons would be thrilled if a Lego park came to northern Rockland.


"I think that would be great for the kids," Lagos said. "And I'm sure it would bring a lot of people to the area, and that would help the area."


Legoland theme parks, operated by a British company, Merlin Entertainments, are located in California and Florida in the U.S. Locations overseas include Denmark, England, Germany and Malaysia.


The developer didn't return a request for comment Friday through Aimee Vargas, Mid-Hudson regional director for Empire State Development.


Haverstraw town Supervisor Howard Phillips said no agreement has been negotiated with the developer, and the town may still consider other uses for the 175-acre property.


"We've been asked not to say anything until we more or less have a proposal that we can agree upon, a memorandum of understanding, anything," Phillips said. "But we have nothing. So all I can tell you is yes, they are looking at the site."


Phillips said although he believed the property was an ideal site for a Legoland, he has concerns, such as traffic.


"Our doors are open. We're willing to sit down and negotiate. But we're not giving this land away. There's no fire sale," Phillips said. "We want to make sure whatever goes in there, our residents are going to be very proud of."


A plan to build a 500-unit housing development was considered for the site. But in 2008, the developer dropped the plan, a casualty of the poor housing market. The property has remained mostly unused since.

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  • 1 year later...

It appears Legoland's expansion into the Northeast US may still be alive




Legoland officials eyeing move to Ramapo

Alex Taylor, artaylor@lohud.com 11:50 p.m. EST February 18, 2016


RAMAPO — Legoland executives visited Suffern on Thursday and have started discussions with officials about building a $250 million mega-theme park on the site of the former Novartis plant and 67 acres of town property.


Representatives of Merlin Entertainments had previously pitched the project for Letchworth Village property in Haverstraw, only to be rebuffed by officials in October amid overwhelming neighborhood hostility.


Behind the scenes, however, Ramapo officials have been trying to keep the county in play ever since.


Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence met with Merlin representatives at 2 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza in Montebello along with a delegation of elected and business officials from Montebello, Suffern, Rockland County and the Ramapo Central school district


"It was really a conceptual meeting to see if there was interest in the site and where we could go from here," St. Lawrence told The Journal News after leaving the 90-minute meeting.


St. Lawrence said other locations were still in the running including Orange County and New Jersey.


"They've always liked Rockland County," he said. "The proximity to New York City is very important to them. Access to the site from the Thruway would be a key issue."


Merlin Entertainments, a London-based conglomerate that's second only to Disney in the competitive world of theme-park attractions, already has built Legolands in California and Florida, but wants to build another one on the East Coast.


The gigantic amusement park proposed for Haverstraw in 2014 called for rides, a water park and a hotel.


But residents expressed concern that the crowds - attendance was pegged at 2 million visitors a year - and traffic would overwhelm northern Rockland. There were accusations of backdoor business negotiations. Rumors that town officials had flown to Florida and California to visit Legolands in those states set off a storm on social media that eventually caused officials to back down.


Supporters continue to tout the benefits the complex would bring — mainly millions in sales tax revenue.


If built, the theme park would be a dramatic turnaround for the county's tourist industry as well as cement St. Lawrence's reputation for having transformed the face of Rockland's largest municipality. Projects approved in his eight terms include the $200 million sewer extension project in Western Ramapo as well as the $60 million Provident Bank Park.


In cash-strapped Suffern, Mayor Ed Markunas cheered a potential deal.


"It's enticing," he said, speaking by phone. "The impact - on finances, on jobs - would be beneficial."


Both Markunas and St. Lawrence called for Merlin Entertainments to run a public outreach campaign that would nourish public and community backing for the project from the outset and avoid the kind of opposition that doomed the North Rockland proposal.


"The public would need to be brought into this conversation," St. Lawrence said.


The vast Novartis' campus at 25 Old Mill Road sits on 162 acres in Suffern and Montebello. In 2014, Basel, Switzerland-based company announced it would close the plant and eliminate or transfer 525 jobs.

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Shocking that plans for redeveloping the Letchworth Village property fell through due to NIMBYism. OK, so people don't want to see a huge amusement park with millions of visitors a year... but you'd rather have empty, decrepit, abandoned buildings not doing anything? Makes PERFECT sense to me.

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I guess Merlin has a thing for building parks kind of close to major cities.


They usually do better than parks built in the middle of nowhere.


Shocking that plans for redeveloping the Letchworth Village property fell through due to NIMBYism. OK, so people don't want to see a huge amusement park with millions of visitors a year... but you'd rather have empty, decrepit, abandoned buildings not doing anything? Makes PERFECT sense to me.


They probably want neither and the property just torn down and turned into (nontheme) park space or something. I'm fine with that. It isn't like they bought homes next to an amusement park that's been there for 120 years and are complaining now.

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^The place is basically historic so honestly I would rather see them drag along than go away and watch the entire property get razed.


Struggling historic amusement park > stripped wasteland, more uninspired high density residential development, commercial shopping centers, etc.

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^I've been to Conneaut Lake Park recently and still fully support it and there is no way Playland is in as fallen a condition as CLP. I believe both parks should be saved.


I don't know the details of Playland, but in Conneaut's case, the park draws a lot of tourism and tourism related spending compared to anything in the region, so between that, it's historic qualities, and its free public use land, it deserves help. I can only image Playland is in a similar situation (just with a lot more of their assets still in one piece).


On the topic of the thread I have nothing against LEGOLAND but I wouldn't want that to be the cause of closure for Playland. LEGOLAND's are great.

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^The place is basically historic so honestly I would rather see them drag along than go away and watch the entire property get razed.


Struggling historic amusement park > stripped wasteland, more uninspired high density residential development, commercial shopping centers, etc.



To be fair I would prefer a stripped wasteland to their Volare.

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I don't know the particulars, but I doubt Playland gets any business from NYC tourism. Sure, it's in better shape then Conneaut Lake, but it's still a dingy, run-down place that lost all sense of charm it may have once possessed. Perhaps the new ownership can turn it around, because I am not rooting for Playland to close. But if it maintains its current reputation and this Legoland comes to pass, then I can't see it lasting much longer.

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Yeah the tourism aspect is completely different because CLP is the largest tourism destination in the entire region behind PA's largest lake not far away. Obviously Playland isn't the biggest tourism destination in the NYC area.


Anyways I hope they can just get some kind of government support (tax exemptions maybe) so that they can survive. I would love to see a world where Playland and Legoland both could succeed.

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I don't know the particulars, but I doubt Playland gets any business from NYC tourism.


They used to try to tap into that market, though I don't know if it was successful. They offered Metro North discount tickets and had ads up in the NYC subways. I don't know if they're still doing that but now that Coney Island has experienced such a major overhaul I would think it would have lost the little appeal that it had. Even with a discounted ticket on Metro North you could get to Coney Island from the subway system and while taking the D train from uptown or the Bronx to Coney Island is akin to the 7th layer of hell it's probably still faster than taking the subway to Grand Central or 125th street, taking Metro North to Rye and then taking a bus.

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^ There's still a radio commercial from time to time during the season, but that's about it. And you're right about the travel. For people staying or living in the city, why hike up to Westchester County when you can just trek on over to Brooklyn for a better amusement park? Shame the County didn't select the operators of Coney for the Playland contract. They could have done package deals for the two parks.

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  • 7 months later...

Not much news, except to let everyone know discussions are still ongoing




Officials tout Legoland project

Oct 6, 2016 By James Walsh atTimes Herald-Record


CENTRAL VALLEY – Legoland’s plan for an amusement park in Goshen represents a unique opportunity, not only for Orange County, but for the Northeast United States, business and government leaders were told Thursday.


Theme parks are rarely being built in the United States these days, though some are being enlarged or updated. Asia is in a growth stage when it comes to amusement parks, while North America and Europe are quiet after leading the way from the 1950s to the 1980s, Raymond Braun, founder of Entertainment + Culture Advisors, said at an Orange County Partnership breakfast.


“This is a really, really unique opportunity,” Braun said after addressing about 300 people at the Falkirk Estate and Country Club. His company’s clients include the Merlin Entertainments Group, which is planning the Goshen venture.


Entertainment + Culture Advisor, or ECA, offers services including park attendance projections, potential pricing strategies, and site evaluations for developers, governments and investors.


Braun said the proposed Legoland, which would be the third in the U.S., would aim to draw day-trippers from the New York City metro area, and multiple-day visitors from the Northeast. The town Planning Board is reviewing the proposal’s potential environmental impacts in the face of concerns including traffic, infrastructure and noise levels.


“We are working with them to make sure information about other tourist destinations in Orange County is available at Legoland,” Susan Hawvermale, the county’s tourism director, said after Braun’s address. “They’ll extend their stay to go to places like The Castle, to our parks, West Point, to go apple picking. There are educational opportunities that will draw them from Legoland.”


The “educational” aspect may appeal to Legoland’s target audience of families with children 12 and under. Legoland is among the tamest of theme parks, with an estimated annual attendance of 1.5 million to 2.5 million people. A “mega” park like the Disney properties and Universal Studios draw 8 million to 15 million, according to Braun.


Also promoting Legoland at the breakfast was County Executive Steve Neuhaus, who was playfully depicted on video screens piloting a jet at the New York Air Show and playing with Lego bricks.


“I’m all in with Legoland,” Neuhaus said. “I think this is a wonderful opportunity; a once in a lifetime … I grew up in Orange County. I’m 42 years old … I think it’s something everyone should get behind.”


A key aspect of the plan in Goshen is a 250-room hotel. While the park would open on a spring-fall schedule, the hotel would operate all year.


“A big trend in the industry is don’t just build a park, build a destination,” Braun told the audience. “As Disney taught us, it’s better to have people stay for several days than for several hours.”

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^ I think you are quite right on that one. And it is a good thing. I do wonder how it will affect the Florida location? Might they have to step up their game in Florida?


I think a New York location would affect the Florida location to the same degree that the Florida addition affected the California location.

Insignificant in my opinion.

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