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Site of Port City Industrial Park expansion Site of Port City Industrial Park expansion

Kayak maker to open new plant in Muskegon

BY Friday, May 11, 2018 02:48pm

MUSKEGON — A major kayak manufacturer plans to expand into newly added space at Muskegon’s Port City Industrial Park, MiBiz has learned.

KL Industries LLC is working with Grand Rapids-based development firm Robert Grooters Development Co. to build a 490,000-square-foot facility at 2420 Remembrance Drive in Muskegon, according to filings with the city. The developer tentatively expects to start construction on the project in June.

The city of Muskegon purchased the 22.7-acre parcel for $340,500 with the intention of luring a “significant” expansion from a light industrial manufacturer, as MiBiz first reported in April.

In a statement, Kyle Grooters, marketing manager of Robert Grooters Development, praised KL Industries for its recent growth spurt and for choosing to continue growing in their hometown of Muskegon.

“Their industry knowledge and business acumen is bar none and it’s no surprise that they’ve grown to be largest in their industry across the globe,” Grooters wrote to MiBiz.

“(I)t’s projects like this one which showcase the economic power of the West Michigan community that are the most rewarding,” he added.

Additional property issues such as building a shipping office at the northern entrance of the property, drain commissioner approval of a stormwater management plan and road improvements to Remembrance Drive “must be addressed,” according to filings with the city.

The company expects to include 113 parking spots for the plant.

It remains unclear whether KL will consolidate its operations at the site or expand its overall capacity with the plant. A representative of the company did not respond to a request for comment at the time this report was published.

The move comes amid a national growth spurt for KL, which announced last month that it planned to create more than 100 jobs with a new distribution facility southeast of Atlanta in Stockbridge, Ga., as MiBiz reported at the time. Earlier this year, KL announced plans to hire 70 employees at its West Michigan operations because of “increased demand” at its Muskegon factory.

KL — which is owned by private equity firm New Water Capital LP of Boca Raton, Fla. — employs about 250 full-time employees in West Michigan.

Prior to KL being announced as the tenant, City Manager Frank Peterson said the city had identified a tenant that “will essentially occupy 100 percent of the buildable space” at the Port City Industrial Park addition. At the time, Peterson said he expected the project to create up to 250 full-time jobs.

When the city sought approval to buy the parcel, officials said the municipality was limited in what it could offer growing manufacturers because it lacked developable parcels bigger than 2- to 3-acre sites.

Peterson was not immediately available for comment.

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