Heating and air product manufacturer Rheem announced Monday that it's investing $20 million in an expansion of its Fort Smith facility.
The Atlanta-based company said the expansion will create 100 jobs and increase production capacity at the plant, which is more than 50 years old. Plans also call for a training and innovation center where distributors and contractors will work with Rheem products and learn about product improvement.
Rheem said other improvements will include a new entrance and traffic flow patterns to improve safety, access, and congestion.
“We are excited to see Rheem grow and succeed in Fort Smith,” Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said in a news release. “Rheem is creating both corporate and manufacturing jobs that spur economic development and raise the quality of life for employees and their families.”
Rheem is owned by Japan-based Paloma Co. Ltd. In addition to HVAC equipment, it produces water heaters, commercial and residential boilers, and commercial refrigeration solutions.
Rheem's portfolio of brands includes Ruud, SureComfort, Russell, Witt, Kramer, ColdZone and Friedrich.
The company is growing its Fort Smith operation after undergoing a series of job cuts more than a decade ago. It announced in 2012 that it would lay off up to 100 hourly workers to adjust to "changing business conditions." A year earlier, the company said it would cut 250 positions in as it moved some operations to Mexico.
Those cuts followed the elimination of as many as 235 positions in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.
Rheem's expansion project qualified for the following state incentives: the Advantage Arkansas Program, which provides state income tax credit for job creation based on the number of new employees hired as a result of the project, and the Tax Back Program, which provides sales tax refunds on building materials, taxable machinery, and equipment associated with the project.