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Bill Freehling is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Bill Freehling.

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Legoland has long background with region

Legoland, which is considering Stafford County as the home for its third U.S. theme park, has long shown interest in the Interstate 95 corridor of Northern Virginia.

Legoland in the early 1990s strongly considered the Cherry Hill peninsula area of Prince William County for its first U.S. theme park. The company ultimately decided to build that park outside San Diego in a decision that was attributed to the California city’s demographics and year-round good weather.

Longtime Fredericksburg-area real estate broker Fitz Johnson recalls showing Legoland officials numerous sites along the I-95 corridor in the Fredericksburg area more than a decade ago.

Two years ago, Legoland opened its second U.S. theme park in Winter Haven, Fla. Like the California park in Carlsbad, the Florida location is outside but easily accessible to major metro areas.

That would be the case for the Stafford park if Legoland — which also has several parks outside the U.S. — decides to proceed on the local project.

Stafford officials are now in the preliminary stages of considering an incentives package to woo the park to the Centreport Parkway area off Interstate 95. The county’s Board of Supervisors is expected to review the results of a financial analysis next month, and then will give direction as to what a next step may be. The county could provide a specific incentives offer to Legoland by the end of the calendar year.

Legoland is reportedly looking at land owned by Dan Melrod and The Peterson Cos. along Centreport Parkway.

A spokeswoman for Legoland’s parent company, Merlin Entertainments Group, said the company is “nowhere near” a decision. Other U.S. sites are reportedly also under consideration.

Legoland parks are geared toward families with children between the ages of 2 and 12, who can let their imaginations run wild while exploring a world made of the colorful toy bricks. Unlike many other amusement parks, roller coasters aren’t the focus.

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/businessbrowser/2013/10/23/legoland-has-long-background-with-region/

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