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Officials Disappointed in LEGO Plan to Move from Enfield to Boston

NBC Connecticut 1/25/2023
© Provided by NBC Connecticut

The LEGO Group plans to move its head office in the Americas from Enfield, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts and Connecticut officials are reacting to the announcement.

The company, which employs around 740 full-time employees in Enfield, plans to move from its current office from by the end of 2026.

“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. We are seeing these advantages resonate more and more in industries such as advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and fintech,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement.

“Based on my conversations this morning with LEGO’s leadership, their 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,” Lamont added.

The LEGO Education office is in Boston’s Back Bay.

LEGO said all employees in Enfield will have a position in the new location and will receive relocation assistance if they wish to make the move. Those who choose not to relocate will receive financial support and job placement assistance, according to the company.

“While LEGO has announced that no layoffs will be part of the relocation, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of Workforce Strategy, and Department of Labor will work with LEGO to place affected workers who choose to depart the company and stay in Connecticut,” Lamont added.

The LEGO Group opened the Enfield office in 1975.

“It’s a sad day for Enfield,” Enfield Mayor Bob Cressotti said.

Enfield Town Manager Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said her team was let down, but not totally surprised.

“Today’s news was kind of like walking across a room full of LEGOS barefoot,” she said.

Zoppo-Sassu said she hopes the building will not be vacant long once the lease expires in 2026. 

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02) said he is disappointed in the announcement and called for the state to connect workers with opportunities in the region.

“My office has a great working relationship with LEGO and its workforce in Enfield, so I’m very disappointed by today’s news,” Courtney said in a statement.

“This announcement reflects 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. This change will be a four-year process, and my office has been assured that over that time, employees will be given a chance to retain their positions in Boston if they choose. 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. 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,” Courtney added.

“LEGO’s decision to move their North American headquarters out of Enfield comes at a moment when many other companies are relocating to our state," U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in a statement.

"Yes, this announcement is a disappointment, but Connecticut's economy is doing well, and more and more workers and companies are coming back to our state because of our great quality of life, highly trained workforce, and good business climate,” Murphy said.

David Cadden, professor emeritus of entrepreneurship and strategy in the School of Business at Quinnipiac University, pointed out the similarities between the LEGO move and the decision General Electric made several years ago to move to Boston. And he said lawmakers need to be “far more aggressive” in supporting the development of small business in the state.

“The decision by Lego to move its corporate headquarters from Connecticut to Boston is another body blow to the perception of Connecticut being a business- friendly environment,” Cadden said in a statement.

“The rationale that Lego provided is almost identical to that of General Electric when it moved its corporate headquarters to Boston. Namely, they are looking for a more urban environment with a number of top-tier educational institutions and a better ‘quality of life’ environment. It’ll be a challenge on the part of the state legislature and the governor’s office to be able to address these concerns, and to assure that corporate headquarters that currently are in Connecticut stay in Connecticut. This challenge has to transcend the notion that tax packages alone are the only items that are needed for companies to remain in the state.  In addition, the legislature and the governor’s office need to be far more aggressive in supporting the development of small business in Connecticut. This would include economic support for new business startups, education, support for entrepreneurs, and a reduction of onerous regulations,” he added.

House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) said the news is "sour" for the state.

"News about LEGO's planned departure from Enfield is sour news for our state, particularly when you consider the fact that its reasons for heading to Boston to achieve growth—access to a skilled workforce and a great quality of life—are the heart of Connecticut's sales pitch to retain and attract companies," he said.

Republican lawmakers representing Enfield described the news as disappointing and unfortunate.

"The news is disappointing, and we as lawmakers need to learn important lessons from it,” Sen. John Kissel said. “We need to assess the reasons LEGO is leaving and make positive changes to our state’s public policies in response.  We should view this as a teachable moment to make Connecticut more affordable and more appealing to businesses like LEGO.”

“While the news of LEGO's move doesn't come as a complete shock, it's still disappointing that a great community partner who has been a fixture in our community for almost fifty years has chosen to move their operations to a neighboring state,” Rep. Carol Hall said. “Hopefully, Connecticut will take this unfortunate news as an opportunity to reflect on what we are doing as a state to retain and attract new businesses.”

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