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Carlsbad Lego studio warehouse workers laid off, operations to leave city

CARLSBAD — One of the city’s premier industries has cut staff and will jettison its studio warehouse where a large portion of work with Lego bricks, design and animation for the Legoland parks is done.

Merlin Entertainments Group, which operates all of the Legoland facilities worldwide, notified its Carlsbad employees on Jan. 25 it was closing its studio here and moving it to Florida, according to Legoland California Media Relations Manager Julie Estrada. In addition, dozens of employees were affected, she confirmed.

The number of employees working at that site wasn’t disclosed.

“All the model builders, designers and animators in California will have the opportunity to apply for positions available at that location,” Estrada said.

“They are closing the Carlsbad studio and consolidating it to one single hub instead,” she explained. “It’s currently in transition.”

The Carlsbad studio location, meanwhile, has always been a closely guarded secret and Estrada said even now she could not disclose the address.

London-based Merlin, according to Estrada, is consolidating the Carlsbad location with its warehouse near Winter Haven, Fla., which will act as Merlin’s national hub for Lego supplies, design and animation. It will also be closer to its East Coast and European parks and easier on logistics, she added.

Another reason for the move is in anticipation of its newest park to open in Orange County, N.Y.

In addition, the Florida location is a larger facility, which will allow Merlin opportunities for expansion, Estrada noted.

“It’s closer to the potential parks on the East Coast. It makes more sense to have the hub on that side to facilitate all those parks,” Estrada said.

The hubs, she added, are to supplement model-building efforts at each park along with animation (moving displays) and designs.

Merlin Entertainments recently broke ground on its 250-room Legoland Castle Hotel, the second at the Carlsbad property, which is expected to open in 2018. The completion of the hotel won’t be affected by the Carlsbad studio’s relocation.

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