Polaris to build new facility

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Polaris Industries will build a new 100,000 square-foot product development facility in Wyoming, Minn., a home for engineering, design and development personnel for the company’s line of all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, and Victory Motorcycles, the company reported in a statement yesterday.

The 600-acre Wyoming site will allow for on-site field-testing, and will provide ample room for future expansion, according to the company. Construction is expected to begin in 2004 and to be completed in late 2005. Polaris said it anticipates a total cost around $25 million.

Polaris President and CEO Tom Tiller said that locating in the upper Midwest was a logical choice for Polaris since all of its domestic operations are within a 300-mile radius of Minneapolis, the largest market for power sports products.

When operating at full capacity, the facility will employ up to 300 people, with some of the jobs being new positions. The remaining jobs will be filled by consolidating the company’s current ATV, personal watercraft and Victory product development facilities in Spirit Lake, Iowa and Osceola, Wis., as well as some work currently handled in Roseau, Minn., the company stated.

Governor Tim Pawlenty commended the decision by Polaris Industries Inc. to build the new facility, and said it illustrates the company’s longstanding commitment to providing high-quality jobs in the state, according to the company.

“Polaris was born here, has grown into a power sports powerhouse here, and the company’s North Star logo is an institution in the North Star State,” said Governor Pawlenty. “We couldn’t be more pleased that Polaris is continuing to invest in the people and communities of Minnesota.”

Help from the state

A number of state incentives will help the project along. The building site is in a pending application for a proposed Jobs Opportunity Building Zones (JOBZ), which if approved would qualify the company for up to 12 years of local and state tax exemptions, according to the company.

In addition, through the Minnesota Investment Fund, the state will provide an interest-free loan of $500,000 for 10 years to help cover the costs of the expansion. Through the Greater Minnesota Business Development Infrastructure Grant Program, the state will provide a grant of $1 million to reroute a county road around the perimeter of the property. And through the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership program, the state will work with Polaris to support a customized training program at the Wyoming facility, the company reported.

Governor Pawlenty noted that the incentives were critical to the company’s decision to expand in Minnesota.

“These are exactly the kind of jobs and the high-quality work that we need to invest in and retain for Minnesota to remain competitive and for our economy to grow,” he said.

The new facility will be among the first in Minnesota built using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, which aim to reduce or eliminate negative environmental or human impacts in five areas: sustainable site planning; safeguarding water and water efficiency; energy efficiency and renewable energy; conservation of materials and resources; and indoor environmental quality, according to the company.

“Over our nearly 50-year history, new products have been the lifeblood of Polaris. The key to making high-quality products starts with having high-quality people and high-quality facilities,” said Tiller. “With our investment in the new Wyoming, Minn., product development location and the ongoing expansion and upgrading of our 94,000 square-foot Roseau, Minn., product development facility, we’ll have two state-of-the-art locations that will allow us to focus our resources, to continue to attract and retain the highest quality people, and to develop world class products.”

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