For 90 years, 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.” 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 competitive, multistate site location search to establish a new, environmentally sustainable manufacturing facility in the United States. The company ultimately chose Chesterfield County’s Meadowville Technology Park in the Greater Richmond region of Virginia for a $1 billion, 1.7-million-square-foot manufacturing facility that will create 1,760 new jobs.
The LEGO Group’s plant in Virginia will be its seventh manufacturing facility, and the only one in the United States. The new facility 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. Production at the Chesterfield facility is projected to start in the second half of 2025.
“Our factories are located close to our biggest markets, which shortens the distance our products have to travel,” said Carsten Rasmussen, chief operations officer at the LEGO Group. “This allows us to rapidly respond to changing customer demand and helps manage our carbon footprint. Our new factory in the U.S. and expanded capacity at our existing site in Mexico means we will be able to best support long-term growth in the Americas. We are fortunate to find a location where we can begin construction quickly and create temporary capacity in under two years.”
We are fortunate to find a location where we can begin construction quickly and create temporary capacity in under two years. Carsten Rasmussen, chief operations officer at the LEGO Group The Winning Trifecta: Infrastructure, Workforce, Sustainability
The Virginia solution for the LEGO Group focused on an attractive, pad-ready site covering 340 acres near a thriving metro area, comprehensive workforce solutions, a competitive state and community incentive package, and a commitment to renewable energy. Niels B. Christiansen, the company’s CEO, also cited “easy links to country-wide transportation networks,” with the Chesterfield site offering 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. Chesterfield County also will provide a temporary building to accommodate packing and training operations while the new facility is under construction. Speed to market is paramount, and Virginia checked all the boxes.
“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,” Christiansen said. “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.” I’ve never seen [anything] like the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program … It’s phenomenal. Carsten Rasmussen, chief operations officer at the LEGO Group
The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program began working with the LEGO Group as soon as its decision was made. This 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 2022, Area Development ranked Virginia as the No. 2 state for workforce development programs.
“I’ve never seen [anything] like the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, and I’ve been to many places around the world to look at facilities,” Rasmussen said. “I have never seen the dedication, the willingness, the desire to help support Virginia, future employees and the LEGO Group in making sure we have the right fit. It’s phenomenal.”
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. 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 Group is also eligible to receive a Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission custom performance grant of $36 million and site development improvements estimated at up to $19 million, 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. Niels B. Christiansen, chief executive officer at the LEGO Group The Virginia Advantage
Virginia represents economic opportunity, pioneering new and innovative strategies for economic and workforce development in the 21st century. Those strategies are paying off. In addition to the LEGO Group, in the last year the Commonwealth has landed two new Fortune 500 headquarters, Boeing and Raytheon; secured the expansion of headquarters for Hilton, CoStar Group, and DroneUp; and attracted Plenty Unlimited Inc., which will build the world’s largest indoor vertical farming campus in Virginia.
With further investments planned in the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program to expand the Commonwealth’s sites portfolio and VEDP’s new Real Estate Solutions Division, aimed at streamlining and supporting current and future site development, Virginia is positioned for a healthy and vibrant economic future.