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09 Jan 2019

Legoland Korea given green light after funding agreement
BY Andy Knaggs

Legoland Korea will be situated on Hajungdo Island, Chuncheon, to the east of Seoul

Legoland Korea will be situated on Hajungdo Island, Chuncheon, to the east of Seoul
photo: Merlin Entertainments

Merlin Entertainments is set to open its first Legoland theme park in South Korea, having entered into a partnership agreement that will draw significant local government funding and infrastructure support.

Scheduled to open in 2022, Legoland Korea will be Merlin’s tenth Legoland Park, following the launch of its New York park in 2020. The company believes there remains huge potential for further growth of the brand and reports that it's in advanced discussions regarding a number of sites for Legoland Parks in China, with opportunity for another 20 parks around the world.

The new park is to be situated upon the island of Hajungdo in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province – one hour’s journey to the east of the capital Seoul, and within a 2-hour drive of nearly 24 million people. The Korean Government, Gangwon Province and Chuncheon City have already invested in the construction of a new bridge to the island, and have undertaken groundworks on the site.

Legoland Korea will employ 1,600 people and will be fully owned and operated by Merlin. The resort will include a fully themed Legoland Hotel, and further retail and leisure offerings are planned as part of the island’s overall development.

The total cost of the resort is expected to be W290bn (US$258m, €226m £203m). Merlin Entertainments is to invest W210bn (US$187m, €163m, £147m) into the project, with the remainder being provided by LL Developments, which is the investment arm of Gangwon Province. Funding for additional infrastructure adjacent to the resort will be provided by national, regional and local governments.

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 remain excited about the potential of Legoland Parks, the rollout of which is a strategic growth driver for Merlin, and we continue to look at opportunities for further sites around the world."

The Lego brand was introduced to South Korea in 1984 and is a market leader in the territory. South Korea is Lego Group’s third largest market in Asia Pacific.



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