It’s not all kids-play — the new facility ushers a new billion-dollar project to Chesterfield County.
For every one person on planet Earth, there are approximately 80 LEGO bricks. Before long, the popular toy brand will put down local roots — or should be say blocks?
The toy — transcending childhood and even getting its own primetime reality series — will be made right here in Virginia. This isn’t just the sole LEGO manufacturer in the commonwealth. It’s the only one in the United States.
Founded in Billund, Denmark in 1932, the family-owned LEGO Group now sells toys in more than 130 countries. It’s seemingly a good time for the expansion, too. The multi-billion dollar industry received 27% more revenue in 2021 compared to 2020 while simultaneously growing consumer sales by 22%.
The company will invest over $1 billion in the project, which will be built in the Meadowville Technology Park. Those funds will go toward building a 1.7 million-square-foot precision manufacturing facility with more than 1,760 new jobs up for grabs. The facility plans to open in 2025.
While the idea to bring the LEGO manufacturer to Virginia came to light last year when Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam was in office, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin made the official announcement.
“The LEGO Group’s decision to establish its US 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,” Youngkin said in a press release. “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. Thank you to the Senate and House leadership in partnering with our team in this process.”
A Democratic congressional representative from Virginia is also a supporter of building up her community — literally! On June 15, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) announced that the LEGO manufacturing facility would be coming to her district.
“This is great news for Chesterfield and all of Virginia! LEGO is making a major investment in our commonwealth that will bring new jobs to our community and strengthen our manufacturing industry,” Spanberger posted on social media. “As we all know, Virginia is the best place to work, play, and start a business!”
A Pro-Business Woman
This certainly isn’t the only business to come to town while Spanberger’s been in office. One of the many new businesses the first woman to ever serve in District 7 welcomed during her term was SimpliSafe, a home security manufacturer that invested more than $3 million to expand operations in Henrico County. Within five years from the 2021 announcement, the company plans to increase its total area job creation numbers to more than 800.
Spanberger’s office also helped existing businesses in her district. In April, her office assisted a small trucking business in securing a $150,000 loan. Her team also helped secure a half-million dollar pandemic loan increase for Rush Hour Live Escape Games, which not only helped the business survive, but also put expansion plans in the works.
When Spanberger ran for reelection in 2020, the US Chamber of Commerce — the world’s largest business federation — endorsed the representative.
“The Chamber endorses pro-business leaders in Congress and vigorously supports policies that advance economic growth, help create jobs, and promote fiscal responsibility,” a portion of the Chamber endorsement read.
The endorsement went on to say: “In challenging times, we are reminded of the importance of having leaders who understand the genius of the American system of government and free enterprise and who are willing to tackle the hard problems that confront our nation. Your continued leadership in Congress will benefit the nation as we combat the coronavirus, work to restore economic growth, and expand opportunities for all Americans.”
The US Chamber of Commerce also endorsed Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-02) at the same time. Luria is a Democrat serving in the House of Representatives majority. The Washington Post reported that in the past, the business organization leaned strongly toward Republicans.
Currently vying to defend her congressional seat this year, Spanberger is up for reelection in November. Some of the multitude of issues important to the incumbent include supporting 7th District businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as strengthening workforce training and apprenticeships, according to her website.