Whirlpool breaks ground on latest Benton Harbor project, totaling $220M in investment over last decade
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Whirlpool has an innovative way to attract talent to Southwest Michigan and it will retain at least 400 jobs.
The corporation broke ground on a new, $22 million multi-family housing complex Tuesday that will be open to all, not just Whirlpool employees.
The investment is made possible by its partnership through Harbor Shores Community Development, LLC – which is credited with the development of the Inn at Harbor Shores and the Golf Club at Harbor Shores, which hosts the KitchenAid Senior PGA.
Additionally, it is supported by the Michigan Strategic Fund and Cornerstone Alliance.
“Our home is Southwest Michigan, our company in its journey has gone a long way, we’ve gone global – but yet literally, we stayed very close to our roots and we will continue to do so,” said Marc Bitzer, Whirlpool Corporation Chairman & CEO.
Bitzer was joined by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad and Congressman Fred Upton as they dug into the ground of what will soon be an 80-unit apartment complex.
“This is unique, to have the top employer in the community putting meaningful skin in the game in partnership with local and state officials to solve gaps in our workforce housing,” said Gov. Whitmer.
Ample housing in Benton Harbor will be a win across all fronts – it will provide more in property taxes for the city, an increase in revenue for surrounding small businesses and the apartments’ proximity to Whirlpool’s facilities helps them remain competitive in attracting talent.
It also allows Whirlpool to continue evolving in its birthplace, said Congressman Upton, whose grandfather founded the company 109 years ago —
“For them to recruit and retain the workforce to ensure their success, they have a community that all of us can believe in,” said Rep. Upton.
In less than 10 years, Whirlpool has invested over $220 million just around Riverview Drive and Main Street.
The corporation moved its North American Headquarters back to Benton Harbor, as well as its Refrigeration Technology Building.
This new housing project is another example of a continued commitment to the Port of Opportunity.
“For a community that’s in great need of a revival and when everybody does a little, nobody has to do a lot,” said Mayor Marcus Muhammad.
Bitzer also addressed another disparity Whirlpool is working on – increasing racial equity.
Last year, the company announced its Racial Equity Pledge, which includes plans to increase black employment by 50% at all levels.
Whirlpool also has made an additional $60 million investment toward their Global Laundry and Dishwasher Technical Center in St. Joseph.