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Legoland to launch in Japan

July 1, 2014

Published on Jul 1, 2014

New Naogya park set to open in the second quarter of 2017

Merlin Entertainments has unveiled plans to open its first Legoland park in Japan.

Scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2017, the new Legoland Travel Daily AsiaJapan theme park will be developed at a cost of JPY32 billion (US$309 million) on a site close to Port of Nagoya. Merlin said that the initial development will focus solely on the theme park, but this could be expanded in future to include accommodation.

The local government has also agreed to assist with developing infrastructure for the new attraction, including the improvement of road connectivity and the construction of a new 5,000-space multi-storey car park.

The park is expected to employ approximately 1,000 people, which would make it a similar size to the recently opened Legoland park in Malaysia.

"The Japanese theme park market is the largest in Asia, with an estimated value of GBP4bn (US$6.7bn), and already boasts some of the world's most successful theme parks. Given the high level of Lego brand awareness and the specific 'young family' target demographic, Legoland Japan is expected to be complementary to the existing parks in the region,” Merlin said in a statement.

The new park will operate under Merlin's 'operated and leased' model, with the infrastructure of the park being funded by a third party. Merlin itself will invest approximately JPY9.2bn in the park over the next three years and lease the remainder of the assets from local company Kirkbi Invest, which holds a 75% stake in the Lego Group and a 29.9% shareholding in Merlin.

"Today's announcement is another major milestone in the development of the Legoland brand. We are delighted to be working closely with the City of Nagoya and with Kirkbi on the project, both of whom appreciate the potential of the brand in the second biggest theme park market in the world," said Nick Varney, Merlin's CEO.

Merlin currently operates six Legoland parks in five countries, and plans to open a seventh in Dubai in 2016. But Varney said he believes the brand has the potential for "up to 20 parks", and that Merlin plans to open a new park "every two to three years".

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