Case Studies The LEGO Group
Only the Best Is Good Enough: The LEGO Group Chooses Virginia for U.S. Manufacturing Facility
Rendering of The LEGO Group's Chesterfield County manufacturing facility
Piecing Together a Sustainable Future
For nearly a century, the LEGO Group’s signature plastic bricks have helped children and families fulfill the mission implicit in its name, an abbreviation of the Danish phrase leg godt, meaning “play well”. “Only the Best is Good Enough” is a LEGO motto used since its founding in 1932 in Billund, Denmark, inspiring and developing the builders of tomorrow through the power of play. The company is one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers and a beloved global icon whose reach also spans theme parks, video games, films, clothing, and more.
To address growth demands in North America, the LEGO Group conducted a thorough multistate site location search in 2021 for a new, environmentally sustainable manufacturing facility in the United States. The successful state had to deliver best-in-class solutions to meet the company’s proven standards of excellence and demonstrate strong synergies with its corporate values.
Playing to Win
The LEGO Group cited more than 100 selection factors and sub-factors. Virginia’s solution for the LEGO Group focused on an attractive, pad-ready site with strategic access to markets, comprehensive custom workforce solutions from talent recruitment to training, a competitive state and community incentive package, and a commitment to renewable energy.
As the LEGO Group zeroed in on the East Coast, Virginia could offer a nearly shovel-ready site covering 340 acres with room to grow near the thriving metro area of Richmond in Chesterfield County’s well-established Meadowville Technology Park, home to an Amazon fulfillment center and a Capital One data center among other tenants. The region boasts 33,000 local manufacturing workers and proximity to more than 20 colleges and universities and is renowned for its ability to attract and retain top talent. Within a one-day drive of 45% of the U.S. population, the Chesterfield site also enables convenient access to nearby Interstates 85 and 95, along with The Port of Virginia’s Richmond Marine Terminal and its larger coastal facilities in the Hampton Roads region. Speed to market was paramount, and Virginia checked all the boxes.
The Virginia Solution
Building Blocks for Success: Infrastructure, Sustainability, Workforce
After looking at more than 40 U.S. states and considering a number of locations, the LEGO Group selected Chesterfield County for its $1 billion, 1.7-million-sq.-ft. moulding, processing, and packing plant in June 2022. The plant in Virginia will be its seventh manufacturing facility, and the only one in the United States. The new facility, which will create more than 1,760 new jobs within 10 years, will expand the company’s global manufacturing network, shorten its supply chain, and support long-term growth in the Western Hemisphere, which had previously been primarily supplied by its plant in Monterrey, Mexico. The LEGO Group’s Chesterfield plant will be designed to be carbon-neutral, with 100% of day-to-day energy needs matched by renewable energy generated by an onsite solar park. The facility will also minimize energy consumption and the use of non-renewable resources.
Understanding the critical need to begin production as soon as possible, Chesterfield County committed to providing a temporary building to accommodate packing and training operations while the new facility is under construction. The LEGO Group plans to begin operations from the temporary facility in early 2024, creating 500 jobs. The permanent factory will begin production in the second half of 2025.
The company had three key criteria, and Virginia delivered: 1) Proximity to the LEGO Group’s major markets to allow even better service to its consumers and retail partners; 2) A sustainability partner that would support the company’s ambitions to build a carbon-neutral factory and provide access to renewable energy; and 3) access to high-quality manufacturing talent.
The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program began working with the LEGO Group as soon as its decision was made. The program is a workforce initiative created by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners that accelerates new facility startups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. In 2023, Area Development ranked Virginia the No. 1 state for custom workforce development.
For the LEGO Group, the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program services included a customized recruitment website that went live with the project announcement and drew more than 3,000 job candidates within 36 hours. As of January 2024, the site has received more than 30,000 job applications. Brightpoint Community College and the Community College Workforce Alliance will support the project and the company’s long-term needs with customized recruitment and training services.
The LEGO brand is an iconic and beloved brand for families across the world, and the company’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.