Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc. plans to follow through with construction plans for three new plants housing about 94,000 square feet of manufacturing space by the end of the year, and the company could add up to 600 new jobs at the same time, according to the South Bend Tribune.
“We need more room in a couple of our products lines,” Forest River founder and President Pete Liegl told the newspaper.
Footings have been poured for the first plant at Forest River’s Goshen campus, but Liegl said he’s not sure yet where the other two buildings will be located. In addition to Goshen, the company has land in the other northern Indiana communities of Bristol, Elkhart, Millersburg, Topeka and Middlebury – as well as other states.
The three buildings will cost $7.5 million, and the cost of steel partially determined the size of the expansion, Liegl noted. He said he got steel at a lower price by only purchasing three prefabricated buildings. Any more, he said, and the price would have gone up. “If they’d have let me buy six, I’d have bought six more,” Liegl said.
He is still deciding which of the full-line manufacturer’s products – the company makes everything from thrifty folding camping trailers to luxury motorhomes – will be built in the new plants.
Liegl told the newspaper that then privately-held Forest River, founded in 1996, posted $1.6 billion in sales last year. Earlier this year, Liegl sold the closely held firm to publicly owned Berkshire Hathaway Inc., an investment company controlled by billionaire Warren Buffet.
Forest River employs 5,800 people at 75 factories across the country, including 18 plants in Goshen.