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Jurassica moves forward with £80m plans following death of project's founder

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Following the sudden death of its founder earlier in the year, plans are moving forward to create an £80m (US$105m, €94.2m) dinosaur attraction inside a former quarry in Dorset, UK.

Dubbed Jurassica, the project suffered a major blow when CEO Michael Hanlon died from a heart attack in February, aged just 51.

The project’s board however, which has the backing of the likes of Sir Tim Smit and Sir David Attenborough, made a unanimous decision to press forward with Jurassica, promising to bring to life Hanlon’s “thrilling vision” for the prehistoric attraction on the Jurassic Coast.

A new business advisory group was formed this week, tasked with briefing the project on business developments in the county and helping boost communication to businesses within the region to help secure planning permission in 2017 and realise the project.

If the plans go ahead, the attraction is estimated to bring in 960,000 visitors annually. The subterranean geological park could be ready by 2020, creating more than 150 permanent positions.

As part of development, the 40m (132ft) deep Yeolands quarry would gain a 340ft (103.6m) glass roof designed by Renzo Piano. The attraction will also house robotic swimming plesiosaurs, fossils and interactive displays. Engineering and design firm Arup have been linked to the project, along with business management consultancy Oliver Wyman and exhibit designers David Lazenby and Azeurus Design.

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Following the sudden death of its founder earlier in the year, plans are moving forward to create an £80m (US$105m, €94.2m) dinosaur attraction inside a former quarry in Dorset, UK.
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Michael Hanlon at the quarry where he proposed to build Jurassica

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