A year after Swedish retailer Ikea abandoned plans for a giant furniture store at Somerville’s Assembly Square, there comes word that the redevelopment project is getting another Scandinavian build-it-yourself anchor: New England’s first Legoland Discovery Center.
Since 1998, developers and Somerville mayor Joseph Curtatone sought to revitalize Assembly Square, where a shuttered Ford Motor Co. factory was replaced by a now-failed strip mall. But financing issues and disagreements over plans have made for slow going. Legoland, however, is only the latest evidence the tide is turning: by next spring, the 45-acre property on the Mystic River is set to be filled with brand-new apartments, upscale shops and restaurants, offices, and an Orange Line T station.
The 44,000-square-foot facility will feature a 4-D theater, rides, a café, and a 1-million-Lego replica of Boston’s landmark buildings. It’s a fitting addition to a science and technology hub that will no doubt draw thousands of little Lego lovers and adult building enthusiasts alike each year. But Legoland also snaps into place Assembly Square’s future as a thriving urban destination.