A $12 million Legoland Discovery Center, an interactive and educational family attraction, will be coming to Buckhead’s Phipps Plaza next year, according to announcements Feb. 16 by global leisure company Merlin Entertainments and the Atlanta Development Authority.

Merlin said the Legoland Discovery Center will open in spring 2012. Although the plans were called “conditional,” Merlin said the Atlanta Development Authority played a role in streamlining the planning and permitting process. Also, Merlin’s architects and the city’s Bureau of Buildings worked together to determine the feasibility of placing the attraction at Phipps.

The attraction will be placed at Phipps’ food court on the third floor.

“The city is pleased to partner with Merlin Entertainments and Simon Property Group and welcome this exciting new attraction to our growing list of cultural, historical and family-oriented leisure activities for residents and visitors alike,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement.

Plans and designs are being drawn up for the site, and construction is expected to begin in July, with the attraction due to open in March 2012, the announcement said. The Legoland Discovery Center will offer a fun, interactive and educational two- to three-hour indoor experience ideal for families with children 3-10 years old, the announcement stated.

Legoland Discovery Centers provide a range of interactive play areas including 4D cinema, master classes from the Lego master model builder, Lego rides, special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, and a miniuland exhibit designed to reflect the iconic buildings and skyline of each individual attraction’s location.

The Phipps site is part of Merlin’s growth plan of launching six to seven new sites around the world each year, the announcement said. The company has 70 attractions.

Glenn Earlam, managing director of Merlin’s Midway Attractions Operating Group, which includes the LDCs, said: “The LDC concept is already successful in both Europe and elsewhere in the USA, and I know people will love it here. North America is a very important development market for Merlin; and we believe that Atlanta, and particularly Phipps Plaza, is a great location for us.”

John Schaffner

John Schaffner was founding editor of Reporter Newspapers.