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Merlin Entertainments holds groundbreaking ceremony for Legoland Discovery Center Boston

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday for Legoland Discovery Center Boston in Somerville, said Merlin Entertainments, an operator of visitor attractions. One ceremonial highlight: A front-end loader dropping 50,000 Lego bricks on the site where the center will be built.

Plans call for a 44,000-square-foot indoor attraction that is geared toward children aged 3 to 10 and their families. It will feature millions of Lego bricks, some of them engineered to be duplicates of Boston landmarks, and the center “will offer a fun, highly interactive and educational two- to three-hour indoor experience,” Merlin Entertainments said.

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Scheduled to open in May, Legoland Discovery Center Boston will be the first and only such center in New England and it will employ a staff of about 100, the company said.

The center will be located at Assembly Row, a mixed use development of more than 50 acres.

Assembly Row is a $1.2 billion redevelopment of former industrial property along the Mystic River that once was occupied by a Ford Motor Co. factory. The complex will include outlet stores, hundreds of residences, offices, a revitalized waterfront park, and a new Orange Line MBTA station.

In addition to Legoland, Nike recently signed a deal to open a store on the property, as did the French cookware maker Le Creuset. Other retailers will include Brooks Brothers, women’s clothier Chico’s, and the ice cream shop J.P. Licks. AMC Theaters is also opening a 12-screen cinema on the property.

Hundreds of residences are expected to be completed along the project’s Mystic River waterfront this fall, and the stores and restaurants will begin opening next spring.

Merlin operates 99 attractions, eight hotels, and three holiday villages in 22 countries.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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