Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems has purchased the former Stride Rite distribution center and announced plans to add 40 additional jobs over a three-year period as it expands, according to a press release.

The 409,000-square-foot facility at 1515 Riverfork Drive is now the sixth location in Huntington, offering 45 freight docks and 36-foot-tall ceilings, which officials say will improve the company’s warehousing and shipping operations.

Bendix said the location will be used to consolidate its operations in Huntington and allow the company to expand and support its commercial vehicle aftermarket business.

“We are very proud of our nearly 40-year history here, and this purchase marks the start of another exciting new chapter for our team in Huntington,” Bendix COO Carlos Hungria said in a statement. “Our newest addition is just one more way we continue to optimize our manufacturing operations and distribution, while addressing customer demand at the highest level possible.”

Project planning has begun and initial operations are set to begin within the first quarter of 2020, the release states.

Huntington County Economic Development executive director Mark Wickersham said no incentives were offered in the immediate acquisition of the building and that possible public incentives for additional investments at the facility are still being negotiated, the details of which are not available at this time.

Wickersham said the former Stride Rite facility is one of the best buildings on the industrial property market in Huntington, since it was closed in 2008 in “pristine condition” and has been maintained since then.

Bendix has a history of renovating buildings in Huntington for expansion, Wickersham says, and he’s excited to hear they are investing again since company officials participate in philanthropic projects and are invested in local boards throughout the community.

“We are excited about the investment to acquire the building and the wonderful opportunities for potential growth as a result,” Wickersham said. “Our community thanks Bendix for their continued growth and investments in Huntington.”

In 2017, Bendix added two production lines in a $3.8-million expansion, and last year, the company bought its fifth site while rolling out the first installment of a $1.5 million capital plan, according to the release.

The company began operations in Huntington in 1980 and now operates five locations within a 5-mile radius, including Bendix’s primary North American distribution center and various manufacturing, remanufacturing and assembly sites.

Hungria attributed his company’s ability to expand to Huntington County Economic Development and Indiana Economic Development Corp.

“We appreciate the strong cooperation and support we’ve always received from our partners in Huntington County,” Hungria said in a statement. “Their efforts have helped us continue to expand in this area, and we look forward to what the future has to offer.”

Bendix plant manager Christopher Camp said in a statement that Riverfork Drive offers the potential for an expanded outdoor recreation and wellness space, with plans for a walking trail and basketball courts.

The site will also include measures to make it environmentally conscious.

“The new Huntington site will incorporate green building guidelines, and energy efficient infrastructure and zero waste planning as essential elements in the construction and renovation plans,” Bendix responsibility and sustainability director stated in the release.”

© 2022 The Herald-Press