LEGO moving North American HQ to Boston

LEGO Group, the Danish maker of the iconic interlocking building bricks that spawned videos, movies and “LEGO Masters” on television, announced Tuesday it will relocate its U.S. headquarters from Enfield where about 740 are employed to Boston by the end of 2026.

“Boston is ranked one of the best cities in the world to attract and retain talent,” Skip Kodak, president of the LEGO Group in the Americas said, in a release. “This along with world-class academic institutions, skilled workforce and a great quality of life makes it an ideal location for our U.S. head office. We have exciting plans for the next phase of growth and hope we can retain many of our current team, as well as attract new colleagues.

The move will be phased in beginning in mid-2025. During the transition. LEGO employees will work at two locations — the existing office in Enfield and the company’s education office in Boston’s Back Bay.

The relocation will end nearly a half century of LEGO having a presence in Connecticut.

LEGO’s Enfield operations were initially focused on manufacturing and distribution but both were closed in the mid-2000s. Six months ago, when LEGO announced plans to build a $1 billion “carbon neutral” manufacturing plant in Virginia, concerns were raised about LEGO’s future in Connecticut.

At that time, Gov. Ned Lamont told media outlets that LEGO had communicated to him that the company remained committed to Connecticut.

“I am disappointed to hear today’s news, but I am confident in Connecticut’s ability to attract and retain companies that value our competitive advantages in education, workforce, and quality of life,” Lamont said, in a statement. “We are seeing these advantages resonate more and more in industries such as advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and fintech.”

Lamont, who spoke with Kodak Tuesday morning before the announcement, said the move “is motivated not by any Connecticut policy but rather LEGO’s desire to consolidate their business operations near the company’s Education Office and to enhance their partnership with MIT.

Layoffs were not part of Tuesday’s announcement, but Lamont said the state would would work with “affected workers who choose to depart the company and stay in Connecticut.”

Kodak, in an interview following Tuesday’s announcement, said no decision had been made about Enfield when the plans for the Virginia plant were disclosed.

“We’re grateful for our fantastic team and the support we’ve received in Connecticut over the past 50 years,” Kodak said, in the release. “This has allowed us to build a successful business and inspire millions of children. We wanted to give our people plenty of time to plan their futures, so we will implement a gradual transition over the next few years.”

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn, said he was disappointed by LEGO’s decision, but it reflected a broader shift by LEGO around the globe to focus more on e-commerce and digital marketing, and to move themselves into denser urban areas such as Boston, London, and Singapore.

“In the meantime, it is important that the State of Connecticut—whose labor market has tens of thousands of job openings—connect this highly talented workforce to great career opportunities that exist in our region, from clean energy production, to all sorts of advanced manufacturing and engineering, and more,” Courtney said. “My office will be monitoring this process closely with state and local officials to make sure LEGO employees in north central Connecticut are treated properly, and that they’ve got access to every opportunity for skills training and other forms of transitional support.”

LEGO opened its office in Enfield in 1975. The original site was home to a factory and warehouse, but LEGO currently maintains offices in Enfield. A permanent location in Boston is being sought.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

— By Kenneth R. Gosselin / Hartford Courant / [email protected]