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Archive for Saturday, April 29, 2006

Legoland may build in Johnson County

April 29, 2006

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— A Kansas City-based developer is scouting sites in Johnson County, Kan., for a $200 million amusement and theme park based on the popular Lego building bricks.

RED Development has an agreement with the London-based firm that operates Legoland theme parks to build what would be the fifth park in the world. It would be the cornerstone of a proposed 400-acre, $500 million resort and retail development.

"If you end up with a Legoland park, it will be the best attraction you ever had," said Ted Owen, president of the Carlsbad, Calif., Chamber of Commerce, which has benefited from the 128-acre Legoland California near San Diego. "It's built for kids and kids to take their parents to."

Officials say the Legoland brand name would draw visitors from as far away as Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Minneapolis.

The parks in Denmark, Great Britain, Germany and California average about 1.4 million visitors a year, each plunking down admission fees of $43 for children and $53 for adults.

But RED's plan is contingent on the state approving STAR bonds for the project. The STAR bond program allows municipalities to issue bonds for major entertainment and tourism projects and use sales tax revenues generated by the development to repay the bonds.

If the STAR bonds are approved, construction could begin as early as next spring, with an anticipated opening of early 2009.

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