EXCLUSIVE: Legoland Project Could Receive Another $6 Million from NY State

John Jordan | November 2, 2016

ALBANY—The proposed $500-million LEGOLAND New York project in Goshen could garner an additional $6.29 million in state funding, bringing the total incentive package through the state’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) program to $10.39 million.

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, representatives of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council presented this year’s proposals for CFA Funding to the 2016 Strategic Implementation Assessment Team led by New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado at Empire State Plaza in Albany. The 10 regional economic development councils made presentations to the assessment team on Nov. 1 and 2. Funding awards are expected to be announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo sometime next month.

Among the top priority projects proposed for state funding by the Mid Hudson council is a $6.29-million request by developer Merlin Entertainments for the LEGOLAND New York project . If approved, it would be the third CFA funding award for the project, which was originally proposed for a site in Rockland County. The project secured $3.1 million in committed CFA funding in 2014 and another $1 million last year. It should be noted that the $4.1 million in CFA funding commitments for the project thus far have yet to be funded and forwarded to Merlin since the project has not secured approvals as yet from the Town of Goshen. The project is currently in the environmental approval process there.

The funding requests included in the “Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council’s 2016 Progress Report” chronicle funding requests by applicants for CFA funding. For example, the additional $6.29-million for LEGOLAND New York is the funding request by Merlin Entertainments and is not the final approved funding proposal by the Mid Hudson regional council.

The Mid Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, led by co-chairs Dennis J. Murray, president emeritus, Marist College and Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, president and CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, unveiled a “Live, Work, Play” economic development strategy.

In total, the Mid-Hudson Regional Council proposed 22 priority projects and reported that t received more than $67.4 million in funding applications for state CFA Funding. Those projects have a total project cost of more than $354 million. Some of the proposed priority projects involve securing state funding for phases of what would be much larger development projects.

For example, the LEGOLAND New York application is for a $52.9-million component of the proposed $500-million project. The largest funding proposal for CFA funding this year is for Vassar Brothers Medical Center’s campus expansion in Poughkeepsie. The hospital is seeking $18.4 million in CFA funding for a $92-million component of what has been described as a $466-million project.

Meghan Taylor, regional director of the Mid-Hudson region for Empire State Development Corp.
Meghan Taylor, regional director of the Mid-Hudson region for Empire State Development Corp.

The council estimates that for its proposed priority projects alone, a total of 6,513 construction and indirect jobs would be created, 1,805 jobs would be retained and 1,254 direct permanent jobs would be added to the regional economy.

Responding to a question surrounding the council’s past funding commitments, Meghan Taylor, regional director of the Mid-Hudson region for Empire State Development Corp., said that Merlin Entertainments has been working with the Town of Goshen, ESD as well as the New York State Department of Transportation and other state agencies to secure necessary approvals to allow the project to move forward.

“If everything goes as planned, we should be breaking ground pretty quickly and the plan is to be open in a few years,” she said.



John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth