Legoland to break ground in Korea

The entrance of the first Legoland Malaysia Theme Park in Asia located at Medini, Nusajaya, Gelang Patah in Johor.

Under the deal, Legoland Korea will receive a five-year corporation tax exemption with an additional 50 per cent discount for another two years, and a 50-year free lease of the real estate on top of a 15-year property tax exemption.

British-based Merlin Entertainment, which owns the operating rights for Legoland, will invest 100 billion won (S$120.7 miilion) while the remaining 387 billion won will be provided by LL Development, a special-purpose corporation for Legoland Korea.

"This will be the first Legoland in Northeast Asia. It will boost tourism," said Min Gun-hong, a representative of LL Development.

Legoland Korea will be composed of a 280,000-square-meter amusement park, a hotel, an outlet shopping mall, a water park, a history museum, a spa and other facilities. The amusement park, which targets children aged 2 to 12, will be filled with devices and facilities made with Lego blocks. While the amusement park is slated to open in late 2016, the other facilities will open no later than 2018.

"Given the fact that Legoland in Gunzberg, Germany, attracts more than a million visitors a year, we are expecting similar success in Korea," Min said.

The fact that Jungdo is an island within Chuncheon ― an area accessible via high-speed train and expressways from Seoul ― has attracted investors hoping that the facility will draw both Koreans and foreigners.

The local government has decided to set aside 95.4 billion won to build a bridge linking the island with the mainland.

The Legoland project was first conceived in 1996 but has been at a halt for over a decade. Gangwon Province revived the plan in 2010 and Peter Lysholt, ambassador of Denmark, the birthplace of Lego, became an honorary governor of Gangwon Province to forge ties.