The $12 million attraction will open in late spring of 2013 and will employ managers, marketers, salespeople and "master model builders," the Lego enthusiasts responsible for "iconic buildings represented in Lego," said Janine DiGioacchino, a director for the entertainment company.
The center will occupy a 33,000-square-foot space in Ridge Hill, the mammoth outdoor shopping center that was the centerpiece of the recent corruption trials against former Yonkers City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and former Republican Committee Chairman Zehy Jereis.
Legoland resorts are open near San Diego and Orlando, Fla.; the smaller and less expensive Discovery Centers are operated in Kansas City, Mo.; Dallas/Fort Worth; Atlanta; and near Chicago. Resorts and Discovery Centers also are open in Europe and Japan.
"We're constantly doing site searches all over the U.S. and we had narrowed down New York as one of the places we wanted to open a Legoland Discovery Center," DiGioacchino said. "This fit our demographic of being a residential market close to a city center."
The company expects more than 350,000 visitors in the center's first year, DiGioacchino said. Ticket prices will range from $10 to $20.
Unlike Lego stores, discovery centers feature play areas, "pools" filled with soft Lego bricks, class areas, rides and exhibits, DeGioacchino said. Each center's exhibits are unique to the area it serves -- the Yonkers center will feature buildings that "reflect the Manhattan skyline," including Lego versions of the Empire State Building and the new Freedom Tower, which is still under construction.
Messages were left but not returned Tuesday with Ridge Hill management and the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce.