'Mall of Entertainment' planned for Albertville

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ALBERTVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Sony Pictures and a Minnesota development group plan to build a Hollywood-themed indoor family entertainment center in Albertville.

Developers call the $115 million project the "mall of entertainment" that will include a Marriott hotel and a large water park. The amusement park will include activities based on Sony's movie characters and themes, such as "Men in Black" and the "Smurfs."

Developers are expected to break ground this summer with an opening planned for late next year. It could create 2,000 jobs and has the initial support of local elected officials including Albertville Mayor Jillian Hendrickson, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1U99OlD ) reported.

The new attraction has an estimated entry fee of about $20. Developers believe it will draw cost-conscious families from Minnesota and nearby states.

The amusement park would measure 50,000 square feet, and would be adjacent to a 275-room hotel with a 50,000-square-foot water park. The development would neighbor an outlet mall just off Interstate 94 between the Twin Cities and St. Cloud.

Sony Pictures formally agreed to branding rights in early 2015, and developers finalized an agreement with Marriott at the end of last year.

The land is already owned by developers and has been rezoned with the city.

"They have the land set up to be developed, and now they are honing in on the use," said Adam Nafstad, Albertville city administrator. "We are excited to see more of the site plans and details and would very much like to see this come to fruition."

Development partner iP2 Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based company that specializes in "immersive" entertainment centers, opened its first two concepts in Indonesia and the Philippines in the past two years. Three new locations are in the works, including the one in Albertville.

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