Merlin Entertainments PLC
Merlin Entertainments PLC is the second largest entertainment attraction company in the world, in terms of attendance, with attractions in over 125 locations worldwide. With a vision to being the worldwide leader in branded, location-based, family entertainment, Merlin has expanded its global presence in North America. Samuels & Company, as the exclusive North American Realty Advisor/Broker to Merlin Entertainments (which includes site selection, acquisition and asset management), has led the expansion for the following family entertainment brands:
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LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER: Indoor family entertainment centers that bring together, 4D cinema shows, rides, LEGO MINILAND and interactive learning experiences.
SEA LIFE CENTER: With 50 aquariums and 6 sanctuaries around the globe, SEA LIFE is the world’s largest aquarium brand. More than 20 million guests each year enjoy over 180,000 creatures living in incredible themed habitats.
MADAME TUSSAUDS: This interactive "must do" attraction provides guests with unique opportunities to create memories with some of the world's biggest icons. Millions and millions of people have flocked through the doors of Madame Tussauds since they first opened over 200 years ago.
THE SAN FRANCISCO DUNGEON: Located next to Madame Tussauds at Fisherman's Wharf, The San Francisco Dungeon is a fully themed experience with 360° sets, featuring a 60 minute journey through 200 years of San Francisco's murky past.
THE ORLANDO EYE: This world-class observation wheel provides breath-taking views of Central Florida in all directions within fully enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules.
The challenge for Samuels & Company was to translate real estate practices and procedures of United Kingdom based concepts and adapt them to North America. Additionally, Merlin was a relatively unknown entity within North America at the beginning of this assignment in 2007 and had two location based entertainment attractions in New York and Las Vegas.
Services Provided - Results
With its extensive industry contacts, Samuels &Company developed a nationwide network of local affiliated brokers and created an expansion plan for North America including the following:
- Strategic expansion planning
- Market prioritization
- Site location identification
- Lease and acquisition negotiations
- Landlord-tenant relationship management
Working closely with corporate executives, attraction general managers, local real estate brokers and landlords/developers to select the best sites and negotiate the best lease terms for each of Merlin’s specific brands, over the past nine years, Samuels & Company has assisted Merlin at currently 25 sites in developing five Madame Tussauds; seven LEGOLAND Discovery Centers; eight SEA LIFE Centers; one Dungeon; and one world class Observation Wheel; in 20 markets in the U.S. and Canada, with four more new attractions scheduled to open in 2017/2018.