Lego to open its 1st US factory in 16 years

 Blind and vision impaired children play with LEGO braille bricks for the first time at Legoland in Chadstone on April 15, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia.
Blind and vision impaired children play with LEGO braille bricks for the first time at Legoland in Chadstone on April 15, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo credit (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

After closing its U.S. factory in Connecticut 16 years ago, the LEGO group is returning to the states – and this time it is headed to Virginia.

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Wednesday that the company plans to invest $1 billion into its proposed manufacturing plant in Chesterfield County, Va. Plans include a 1.7 million square foot precision manufacturing facility for the Meadowville Technology Park.

When the new plant opens, it is expected to create over 1,760 new jobs.

“The LEGO Group's decision to establish its U.S. manufacturing plant in Virginia shines a global spotlight on the advantages that make the Commonwealth the best business location in the nation, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with this iconic company,” said Youngkin. “This transformational project will create more than 1,760 jobs and bolster Virginia's manufacturing industry, which continues its renaissance with major investments by high-caliber corporate partners like the LEGO Group.”

Legos, popular toys for children that are available in themed sets, are made by the LEGO Group, which was founded in Billund, Denmark, around 90 years ago by Ole Kirk Kristiansen. LEGO is still headquartered in Billund, but its products are sold in more than 130 countries worldwide. The toys have even inspired films such as “The Lego Movie”.

In 2006, the company closed its U.S. factory and moved production to Mexico, according to CBS News. The Lego Group plans to maintain and upgrade its facility in Monterrey, Mexico, going forward. By opening a factory in the U.S., the company hopes to strengthen its supply chain.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global supply chain has been under stress. LEGO’s new facility is just one part of larger plans to improve its supply chain, said CBS.

“The company already has major manufacturing hubs in China, Czech Republic and Hungary as well as another factory under construction in Vietnam,” said the outlet.

With its move to Virginia, the LEGO Group will be eligible to receive a $56 million grant based on its hefty investment job creation. Investment into the new facility is expected to include site improvements worth up to $19 million.
This grant is subject to approval by the Virginia General Assembly.

“We were impressed with all that Virginia has to offer, from access to a skilled workforce, support for high-quality manufacturers, and great transport links,” said Niels B. Christiansen, CEO, the LEGO Group. “We appreciate support for our ambition to build a carbon-neutral run facility and construct a solar park and are looking forward to building a great team with support from the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program.”