Lego exits Enfield after 50 years; town hopeful for reuse following ‘unfortunate loss’


ENFIELD – Lego’s announcement that it will move its North American headquarters from Enfield to Boston in 2026 surprised town officials, but the signs were there.

“It’s an unfortunate loss,” said Nelson Toreso, the town’s director of economic and community development. “Obviously, it’s very disappointing.”

The same thing happened to Enfield in 2018 when Springfield-based Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. announced it was closing its Enfield campus with plans to build an office tower in Boston’s Seaport District. MassMutual subsequently sold the retirement business based in Enfield and the complex on Hazard Road may become a sports complex.

“It happens everywhere,” Toreso said. “Corporations are looking at bigger cities where they have the workforce available, the education. It is hard to compete with the corporate lifestyle of the metropolitan cities.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont conceded as much in a written statement Tuesday.

“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 (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology),” Lamont said.

Lego established its education office in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood in 2016.

Famously, Connecticut’s prestige took a hit in 2016 when General Electric announced its move from a long-held corporate office park in Fairfield to Boston. GE subsequently downsized and split itself into three parts. Only one, GE Vernova, the clean energy spinoff , is based in Boston. The other two are in Chicago – GE Healthcare – and Cincinnati is home to GE Aerospace.

Lego, based in Denmark, has had a North American headquarters in Enfield since 1975, Nelson said. Lego closed its manufacturing and warehousing operations in Enfield in 2006, laying off 300 workers.

In this photo from 1996 at Lego’s North America distribution center Enfield, Lori Lagasse, of Springfield, at the computer, works with Ed Martin, of South Hadley, on the company’s automated system used to route products from the center via two miles of conveyors. While the distribution center was shuttered in 2006, Lego announced it will move its headquarters from Enfield to Boston by 2026.

Tuesday’s announcement impacts 740 jobs, Toreso said, quoting the company and state labor officials. About half the 740 people live in Connecticut, while others commute from Western Massachusetts, he said.

Lego told the state it won’t lay off people but instead offer them jobs that are in Boston only some of the time. “They have a hybrid work model,” Toreso said.

Workers are only required to be in the office two days a week and can work from home, or wherever, three days a week. “Of course, that requires a commute into Boston at least on those days,”Toreso said.

Through a spokeswoman, Lego said the company plans to grow its American team to support growth ambitions.

“However, we do anticipate that some colleagues will not relocate although hope that everyone will consider the opportunity to move (and) remain with the Lego Group,” the statement said.

The moves will be phased in, starting in 2025

In his statement, the governor said, “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.”

As for the Lego office space at 100 Print Shop Road, Lego has a lease that runs through 2026. It’s one of six major commercial properties in Enfield owned by Massachusetts-based Winstanley Enterprises.

In December, Winstanley announced a deal to lease 260,000 square feet of space nearby at 113 North Maple St. to farmer-owned Agri-Mark Inc. Agri-Mark plans to consolidate the six sites and add 202,000 square feet of dry storage space, 60,000 square feet of refrigerated space and 30 total dock doors. Agri-Mark is consolidating the distribution operation supporting its West Springfield plant, where it churns butter and makes skim milk, nonfat dry milk and other products, according to a news release issued last month by Winstanley.

Other Winstanley tenants in Enfield include Advance Auto Parts and Coca-Cola which shares the office building with Lego.

“We have every confidence that Winstanley will recruit someone to fill that space,” Toreso said.

Richard K. Sullivan Jr., president and CEO of the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts said the Lego announcement underscores the north-south, Interstate 91 corridor economic connection between the two states.

It also points out that in the modern economy, companies and workers can be anywhere. “They will move,” he said. “We need to be aware of the conditions we are creating whether it be with taxation or regulation.”

And workforce, he added, identifying it as one of the reasons Lego is choosing Boston.

The Lego announcement came a day after Yankee Candle’s ownership said it will close the corporate headquarters in Deerfield over the next few weeks . Those workers will be relocated to other nearby office space.

Sullivan said the last two gubernatorial administrations in Massachusetts, Republican Charlie Baker and before him Democrat Deval Patrick have been mindful of the state’s competitiveness. Sullivan served in the Patrick cabinet as chief of staff and as energy and environment secretary.


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