November 23rd, 2013 2:23 PM by Karyn Smith
Legoland officials celebrated an announcement to open a new hotel with a Lego-ground breaking on Thursday.
The theme park chain will build a new four-story Lego-themed hotel.
The hotel will be located next to the entrance o the park, will have 152 rooms and is expected to open in early to mid-2015.
Winter Haven city leaders hope the new hotel will boost tourism and economic development in the area.
"For them to make this announcement, and express this confidence in their business model is going to tip that first domino and cause other hoteliers to give a serious look at Winter Haven," said Bob Gernert, Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce.
Legoland's general manager said there were always plans for a hotel but they sped up the process because of how successful the park has been.
"The opening of a Legoland Hotel will transition Legoland Florida from a single-day visit theme park to a multi-day resort destination,” park general manager Adrian Jones said. "This will serve as a catalyst for future economic development in Polk County."
According to our partners at the Ledger, about 80 percent of Legoland's out-of-town visitors are staying in Orlando. They said they hope a hotel in the area will keep tourism dollars coming into Polk County.
"We really are focusing on all the rooms being themed, the common areas, you're literally in a lego-land toy box," said Jones.
Officials said they anticipate the addition of 200 to 300 construction jobs while the hotel is being built and 250 employees once it opens.
The Legoland Hotel in Florida will be the fifth Legoland Hotel in the world. There are already hotels in California, the United Kingdom and Denmark. A Legoland Hotel is set to open soon in Malaysia.