At least 180 additional jobs will be coming to Benton Harbor, where Whirlpool is relocating one of its research and development centers.
It was announced today that the Refrigeration Product Development Center now located in Evansville, Indiana would close there by the end of 2014.
It appears likely that some of those employees will relocate, as the center moves to Benton Harbor.
“It’s their refrigeration development team, they already have cooking, laundry and dishwashing research and development in our community, this adds to those high tech, high skilled jobs that Whirlpool is continuing to recruit for, bringing people to our area,” said Cornerstone Alliance President Wendy Dent Chesser.
The announcement also means new life for Whirlpool’s plant 7 in Benton Harbor that housed manufacturing operations until early 2011.
Plant 7 will be the new home of the refrigeration research after receiving $18.6 million in new equipment and renovations. “This facility sits vacant now, but other than some warehousing needs for the company, so the fact that they’re going to invest another $18 million into downtown Benton Harbor is fabulous, it adds more jobs, it’s going to generate more excitement and we’ve already got a lot going here,” said Wendy Dant Chesser.
The project is contingent on the State of Michigan coming through with promised incentives, and the receipt of tax abatement from the City of Benton Harbor.