LEGO announced a plan to once again make its bricks in the U.S., but the plant won’t be opening in Connecticut.
The toy maker currently has its U.S. headquarters in Enfield and that’s where hundreds lost their jobs after a former factory was shut down years ago.
LEGO’s CEO said in a statement announcing the new facility they chose Virginia in part due to its skilled workforce, support for high-quality manufacturers and strong transport links.
“We’re hoping that this expansion into the US means good things for Enfield as well,” said Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, Enfield town manager.
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The company announced on Wednesday plans to spend $ 1 billion to build a 1.7 million-square-foot facility near Richmond, Virginia, and create more than 1,700 jobs.
“In the current environment of supply chain challenges, higher trade barriers and so forth, companies, some companies, global companies are putting manufacturing facilities in the United States,” said John Rosen, University of New Haven adjunct business professor.
The LEGO Group used to do manufacturing in Enfield but that was closed and hundreds lost their jobs about 16 years ago.
Right now, the Denmark-based company employs 2,600 people in the U.S. with many in Enfield.
“I think in this environment there are always worries about all of your top ten employers and taxpayers. That never goes away. But in terms of Enfield and I’m pretty confident they are happy and content where they are,” Zoppo-Sassu said.
In a statement, the president of LEGO Americas Skip Kodak wrote in part:
“We’ve been based in Enfield, CT since 1975 and this will continue to be our US headquarters. My management team and 600 colleagues live here in Connecticut, and we’ll continue to be based here. We are a committed member of the community and that will not waiver.”
Both Gov. Ned Lamont and the town promised to work to ensure LEGO’s future here.
“Gov. Ned Lamont spoke with senior leadership of LEGO earlier today and they affirmed their commitment to keep their headquarters and presence in Connecticut. It is commonplace for corporations to invest and expand in multiple states—and they do so for a wide variety of strategic reasons. LEGO has been and continues to be a fantastic partner with our state and we look forward to strengthening this relationship now and into the future,” Max Reiss, director of communications for Lamont, said in a statement.
“Our legislature and the governor need to be constantly thinking about what kinds of policies with regard to labor rules and taxes and things like that we need to have in place to make sure Connecticut is an attractive place to locate an office or a factory,” Rosen said.
Construction of the facility in Virginia is expected to start later this year with production slated to begin in 2025.
LEGO has not said if it had considered other locations including Connecticut.