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Joined by Mayor Tom Henry, middle, and Brunswick CEO Dusty McCoy, Gov. Mike Pence said the move is a credit to the company and the region’s workers.

Boat maker opens new plant

Firm could invest up to $8 million on North Hadley Road

Photos by Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
People gather for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday at Brunswick Corp.’s new Fort Wayne location on North Hadley Road.

A high-end pontoon boat maker has cast off with an investment that could reach $8 million.

Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday led a delegation of business and community leaders during a ribbon-cutting ceremony that lauded Brunswick Corp.’s planned relocation to 1111 N. Hadley Road, former site of Manitowoc Foodservice.

Brunswick, based in Lake Forest, Ill., will move from West State Boulevard by August. Relocation is already underway. The company bought the former food service building June 1. The investment amount includes property and equipment.

Last December, there were hints that Brunswick was leaning toward the 360,000-square-foot building when company officials visited the structure and took soil samples. Those actions came not long after Brunswick announced it was leaving its 2801 W. State Blvd. site.

Manitowoc has transferred production of its Lincoln brand restaurant conveyor ovens from the Fort Wayne facility to Cleveland. About 200 jobs were lost.

Now, Brunswick is doubling its workforce with 200 positions by 2016. It’s a big move for the Fort Wayne operation, which has done business at the 100,000-square-foot West State Boulevard location for 55 years.

The new jobs will be salaried and hourly positions including in finance and manufacturing, company officials said, but they declined to provide a pay range.

Pence said the business community should feel emboldened by the move.

“We make things, we grow things in Indiana,” he said Thursday, while reassuring Brunswick Chairman and CEO Dusty McCoy that he made the right decision. “This is mostly a credit to the people who work for this company and in this region.”

The governor also addressed a group of business and civic members at Caliente Cuban cuisine, 1123 E. State Blvd., on Thursday.

Mayor Tom Henry said that although attracting new business is always a priority, keeping and growing existing companies are equally important.

“You could have gone anywhere you wanted,” Henry said, turning toward McCoy. “Fort Wayne is not a fort anymore. We’re a force to be contended with.”

McCoy said Fort Wayne’s knowledgeable workforce and business-friendly atmosphere made the relocation decision relatively easy.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Brunswick up to $2.575 million in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants, in exchange for delivering the jobs promised.