NAPPANEE — Newmar Corp., celebrating its 50th anniversary in Nappanee this year, is looking to expand and streamline operations and approached the city council Monday evening to request a tax abatement.
Chris Stager, vice president of retention and expansion for the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County, accompanied Joe Shoemaker, Newmar's vice president of administration, to the council meeting.
Newmar has been a leader in recreational vehicle manufacturing throughout its history in Nappanee, Stager said, and now wants to expand its service department.
The expansion at 1301 Stahly Drive would include a $5,062,000 real property investment and a $2,758,000 personal property investment. Newmar officials expect to add at least 13 full-time positions with an average pay rate of $33.24 per hour.
Council members were asked to approve a declaratory resolution stating that the property is in an economic revitalization area and to approve a five-year tax abatement with 100 percent abatement the first year that would decrease by 20 percent each of the next five years.
Shoemaker said the Newmar has a couple of goals with this expansion.
Business leaders hope to combine their service operations that are currently “scattered all over” and get the service technicians and parts department all in one place. Shoemaker said the company also plans to increase their service bays to a total of 50.
Newmar officials also want to decrease the wait time for their service warranty work and increase their ability to offer extra service and after sales. He said they’ll be taking the existing 50,000-square-foot facility and adding 80,000 square feet plus another 28,000 for office space.
Council member Kim Ingle asked what would happen to the existing buildings and Shoemaker said production plans to utilize the space.
“When we look at phase-ins we look at investments and jobs but Newmar also brings in people from all over the country who stay in town several days while their RV is being serviced which helps our economy in other ways, too," Mayor Phil Jenkins told council members.
The council approved the declaratory resolution. The request for a tax abatement will return to the council Dec. 4.