[quote]Our experience has shown that attractions like ours create a whole new element to a family shopping day, delivering significant incremental business to both the mall – and to the area as a whole. Such projects also play an important part in Merlin’s future growth strategy for our ‘midway’ (indoor City Centre) attractions.” — Glenn Earlam, Managing Director of Merlin Entertainment’s Midway Attractions Operating Group[/quote]
London, UK and Istanbul, Turkey — Following the acquisition of Istanbul’s popular Turkuazoo Aquarium last September, global visitor attractions operator Merlin Entertainments plc has confirmed that it had reached an agreement with Multi Turkey to build and open a second attraction in Istanbul – a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. This new attraction will be located close to the Aquarium in Forum Istanbul, Turkey’s largest shopping and leisure centre.
The attraction is scheduled to open in late spring 2015, and will be the first-ever LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in this part of Europe.
Based on the ever popular LEGO® brick, a LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is the ultimate LEGO indoor playground, offering a fun, highly interactive and educational two to three-hour indoor experience for families with children 3-10 years old. The Istanbul LEGOLAND Discovery Centre will include exciting LEGO rides, a 4D cinema, an insight into how LEGO bricks are made in an interactive LEGO ‘Factory Tour’, building workshops led by the Centre’s Master Model Builder, plus a range of themed play areas; special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, and of course the popular LEGO MINILAND exhibit – found in every LEGOLAND Park and Discovery Centre. MINILAND is designed to reflect the iconic buildings of each individual attraction’s location – at Forum İstanbul, this will include iconic buildings and landmarks from Istanbul’s myriad Asian and European heritage such as the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and Bosphorus Bridge, all nominated by the local community.
Commenting Glenn Earlam, Managing Director of Merlin Entertainment’s Midway Attractions Operating Group, said: “When we acquired Turkuazoo last year we said that we had identified Istanbul as an exciting, vibrant, and populous City in which we were looking to build a cluster of our attractions – and this is the first step. We have also already begun our programme of very positive changes in the aquarium, which will continue through the summer; and our experience of working with the great team in Turkuazoo has convinced us even more of the potential in Istanbul for quality attractions such as ours.
“The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is a unique concept aimed at families with young children and is already successful in Europe, Asia and the USA. We have no doubt people will love it in Istanbul, too, and we are particularly delighted to be working with Multi on this exciting new project. Forum Istanbul is in a very central location, which attracts both local and international visitors to its exciting mix of retail, dining and quality leisure attractions like the aquarium and now the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.”
Joao Xavier, Managing Director of Forum Istanbul said: “Merlin is the ideal partner for us in Istanbul, as it brings the kind of entertainment vision and quality attractions that complement our own plans to set new standards in transforming real estate into dynamic destinations, particularly for family visitors to Istanbul. We believe that the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre will reinforce our position in the market as the best family-friendly shopping and leisure centre, and Merlin will play a key role in that.”
Plans and designs are already being drawn up for the 3,100 m² space, and construction is expected to begin in the summer. LEGO models for the Forum Istanbul attraction will be made in Merlin’s specialist studios around the world and shipped in during construction, ready for the opening in 2015.