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Legoland Announces Plans For Themed Hotel

Legoland California today announced plans to build a three-story, 250-room hotel near the entrance to its Carlsbad theme park.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for October, with completion expected in two years.

"The resort now is far more than a one-day attraction," said park General Manager Peter Ronchetti. He said between the park, nearby beaches and other area attractions, families will visit for two or three days now.

Legoland California, which opened in 1999, has since added an aquarium and a water park. Ronchetti said the hotel would be the largest expansion yet.

This would be the second Legoland hotel in the world. The other one is in Billund, Denmark.

Legoland, owned by Merlin Entertainment of London, has defied recessionary times to report annual increases in business and 2010 was a record year for the theme park. Ronchetti said initial construction permits were acquired two years ago, and park officials since then have been evaluating a number of factors, including the economy, before going ahead with the project.

"We've been waiting for this and now it's finally happening and I'm so pleased," said Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin. "Carlsbad has the reputation of being family oriented and this is the piece of the puzzle that really needs to be here."

The hotel's rooms will be designed for families with small children and will feature themes from popular areas of the park.

Two other resorts, the Grand Pacific Palisades and the Sheraton Carlsbad, already sit adjacent to Legoland California.

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