After Madame Tussauds, Merlin set to bring Legoland, Sea Life to India
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Mumbai: Merlin Entertainments Plc, which is opening its popular wax museum Madame Tussauds in India later this year, is in talks with realty and mall developers to bring some of its other brands like Legoland Discovery Centre and Sea Life, said two people aware of the development.
The firm has met with leading developers like Unitech Group—developers of Entertainment City, Noida— and also mall owners like Runwal Group in Mumbai which operates R City and R Mall, according to one of the two people.
“Merlin Entertainments is always looking forward to expanding its business across the globe and India being the potential hub gives us unmatched opportunities and promising returns for future ventures,” Anshul Jain, general manager and director, Merlin Entertainments India Pvt. Ltd, said without sharing specific plans as the company wants to decide its future steps on the basis of the response and feedback it receives for Madame Taussads in India.
Earlier this month, the firm announced an investment of £50 million in India over the next 10 years as it looks to bring brands such as Sea Life and Legoland Discovery Centres to key cities across India.
Legoland Discovery Centers are unique indoor attractions based on the popular Lego bricks, specifically designed for families with children 3-10 years old. Sea Life, an aquarium has floor-to-ceiling tanks, winding tunnels and bubble with displays of fish, sharks, jellyfish and sea horses that provide an immersive experience for children and adults.
The company is in advanced talks with Unitech’s Entertainment City for setting up Legoland Discovery Centre spread across 50,000-70,000 sq. ft, said a second person who did not want to be identified.
“We have earmarked 1.5 million sq. ft of entertainment space at Entertainment City in Noida for which we are in talks with some of the big global operators for indoor theme parks, amusement centres, snow park and aquarium. The aquarium will be by a Singapore-based company,” said Munish Baldev, head retail, Unitech Group. Baldev did not comment on any plans for Legoland.
R Mall which brought KidZania, an international Mexican chain of indoor theme park, to India is looking at new concepts, said Amaan Faikh, chief executive officer, malls, Runwal Group. Faikh, however, did not comment on plans for Legoland and Sea Life.
India’s amusement parks industry is currently estimated at Rs2,000 crore and is growing at about 20% per annum. But this is largely outside malls. The entertainment sector in malls is much larger at Rs8,000 crore and growing at 25%, said Harminder Sahni, founder and managing director, Wazir Advisors, a consulting firm.