New Legoland park planned for Charleroi in 2027
A new Legoland theme park is set to open in 2027 on the old Caterpillar industrial site in Charleroi, reports RTBF.
An agreement was signed on Tuesday between Merlin Entertainment, the Wallonia Region (Sogepa) and the federal Government (SFPI).
The tourist attraction could create more than 1,000 jobs, including 800 direct jobs for mainly low-skilled workers.
A final decision on the park is expected by the end of 2022, with plans to open by 2027.
With an investment estimated between €370 and 400 million, the project will be the second largest in the Wallonia region after Google in Mons. The amount will be provided by several partners, including federal and state agencies and banks.
The creation of the park is tipped to strengthen ecotourism, not only in Wallonia, but in continental Europe. Its target customers will be mainly from Belgium, other Benelux countries, the north of France and visitors from further afield who are spending a few days in Belgium.
Technical and market studies have highlighted the potential of the former industrial location in Gosselies in Hainaut province. It’s advantages include being in the centre of a densely populated area and close to motorways, railway stations and an airport.
“The Lego brand’s appeal suggests a potential of 21 million visitors located within a two-hour drive from the site,” said the partners. In general, this type of theme park attracts between 1.5 and 2 million visitors per year; projections suggest a similar level of success for the Belgian park.
In total, Legoland will cover an area of 70 hectares, while a land reserve of 20 hectares could allow for future developments.
Due to the current economic situation and the possibility of a spike in costs, an exit strategy was included in the signed agreement. The investment cost, which also includes cleaning-up the former industrial site, will be the subject of more in-depth studies in the coming weeks and months.
Soresic, the current owner of the land, will be responsible for preparing the site for construction. Merlin Entertainment’s focus is to be on maintaining high environmental standards.
The site will be acquired through a joint venture between investors, Sogepa and SFPI. The first partnership agreed on Tuesday established a broad and collaborative framework for the project.
Merlin currently has 10 theme parks with three under construction in China, making it a leader on the European market and second in the world behind Disney.
Photo: Legoland Hotel © Merlin Entertainment