A leading Spirit Lake employer is experiencing another round of growth.
A year after adding the Indian Motorcycle line, Polaris officials confirmed plans to invest $22.5 in an expansion at the 565,000-square-foot Polaris manufacturing facility in Spirit Lake.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority on Friday awarded tax benefits and $395,000 in direct financial assistance to Polaris. The company plans to add 79 jobs as part of the expansion.
"We intend for both Victory Motorcycles and Indian Motorcycles to grow significantly over the next couple of years," said Brian Hines, the director of operations at the Spirit Lake location.
Hines said the company needs to add an additional Victory Motorcycle assembly line to the Spirit Lake plant. A new liquid paint system also will be part of the expansion.
"That really the crux behind what's happening with the project," he said.
Hines said the scale and the direction of the building addition have not been finalized yet.
"The construction of the paint system is expected to commence next spring and that will take 18 months or so," he said. "The assembly line will be installed early next year."
Hines said the workforce expansion will play out over the next year as well.
The company announced its acquisition of the 110-year-old Indian motorcycle line in April 2011. Indian motorcycle operations were moved from King's Mountain, N.C. to Spirit Lake. Six days later, Polaris officials announced plans to acquire Global Electric Motorcars, or GEMs from a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chrysler.
The electric-powered vehicle line was moved from Fargo, N.D. to Spirit Lake.
Company CEO Scott Wine said Polaris Industries had more than $2 billion in sales in 2011 and plans to exceed $3 billion in sales in 2012.
Polaris officials hosted Gov. Terry Branstad for a Aug. 21 tour of the Spirit Lake location. During the visit, Wine noted 21 percent employment growth at the Spirit Lake location. Polaris currently employs about 700 employees in the city.
"Definitely one of the strengths in the Dickinson County community is the quality of our workforce," Hines said. "We have a very high-quality workforce. We have people with very strong work ethics. We have people who are adaptable to change. That's probably, first and foremost, one of our biggest assets. Then, the relationship we have with local governments and the city of Spirit Lake has been strong for a long time and they have been very good in helping us accomplish these things."
Polaris was founded in 1958 in Roseau, Minn. In addition to motorcycles, the company's Ranger side-by-side off road vehicle sales been an area of success for the company over the past five years.