HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – State and local leaders made a major announcement Friday about Polaris bringing at least 1,700 jobs to the Huntsville area.
Polaris Industries will build a 600,000 square foot facility in Limestone County near the Greenbrier exit , where it will manufacture outdoor motorized recreational vehicles. Read more in our full story.
Read our minute-by-minute blog below as well.
Good afternoon – we are in place for the announcement at The Jackson Center and here at WHNT News 19. I’ll be updating this live blog for you, and reporter Daniela Perallon will cover the announcement.
Our live stream currently shows coverage of the developments in France today from CBSN, CBS News’ new 24 hour channel. We will switch to the announcement shortly after 1 p.m. when Gov. Bentley arrives.
The announcement will begin in a few minutes. We understand the governor is delayed — we hope to see him shortly.
We are still waiting on Gov. Bentley’s arrival. He is due shortly. The crowd invited to watch the announcement has been let in, and they’re filling the chairs.
The announcement: Polaris Industries will bring at least 1,700 jobs to Huntsville. More details: http://whnt.com/2015/01/09/live-announcement-polaris-to-bring-at-least-1700-jobs-to-tennessee-valley/
Polaris announced it will break ground on the Huntsville facility in the first quarter of 2015 with completion slated for early in the second quarter of 2016. Production will begin shortly thereafter.
The 600,000 square-foot facility will focus on off-road vehicle production. We understand it will be built near Greenbrier Road, in the Huntsville portion of Limestone County.
Governor Bentley just arrived at the Jackson Center. Announcement to begin shortly.
Several people expected on podium, including Gov. Bentley, local mayors, county leaders and state legislators.
The stage is full for the announcement
Watch the announcement here: http://whnt.com/on-air/breaking-news/
Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, says this initiative was called “Project Axle.” He thanks everyone involved in making this a reality.
Canfield on the company who is coming: “They’re in demand, and the demand is growing.”
Interesting note, none of those at the podium have named the company as of yet.
Gov. Bentley welcomes Polaris Industries to Huntsville, AL. He says the company will fit ‘Huntsville’s equation’ perfectly.
The company’s 600,000 square foot facility will focus on off-road vehicles. Gov. Bentley said this is a major accomplishment to help Alabama reach its goal of putting people back to work.
Governor: The people of Alabama love the outdoors, love outdoor sports, and Polaris will be right at home in our great state.
Polaris just played a video for the audience about what kind of outdoor products the company makes.
Ken Pucel, Polaris Executive VP, says the new plant will have multiple assembly lines. They intend to start production next year and grow the workforce to more than 2,000 employees. “We look forward to investing in our shared future in this great state,” he said.
“We look forward to a long and prosperous stay in Alabama, and we look forward to saying with you, ‘We are made in Alabama.'” – Ken Pucel, Polaris Executive VP.
The facility will be located on 453 acres west of Greenbrier Road in Limestone County. The project comprises a capital investment of up to $142 million. Construction is expected to begin next month with the campus fully operational by 2017.
Polaris said Huntsville was an ideal choice because of the city’s skilled workforce, history of technology and innovation, existing utility infrastructure, and local and state support. The site also brings Polaris closer to its key customer base in the Southeast and offers a strong logistics network for the new operation.
Mayor Tommy Battle welcomed Polaris, saying: “It’s a strong endorsement for Huntsville to have the state’s two largest economic development announcements in the past year. These historic wins validate our competitiveness and promising future as a leading economic driver and destination of choice for successful business.”
“We’re on a budget,” Mayor Battle joked.
The news conference is over. We appreciate you all tuning in to our live stream and here on our live blog! We’ll have more reports this evening (Friday) on WHNT News 19 at 5:00, 6:00, 6:30, 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.