As reported in Times Record:

A Milwaukee investment firm has purchased the former Whirlpool manufacturing facility on Jenny Lind Road in Fort Smith.

Phoenix Investors in Milwaukee has finalized the purchase of the 1.5 million-square-foot building at 6400 Jenny Lind Road, according to an announcement by the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce. Other Whirlpool distribution buildings were previously purchased by Spartan Logistics and FFO Home.

Phoenix’s plans for the facility include “collaborating with other logistics and distribution enterprises to offer a centrally located hub for several companies,” the chamber states.

The building formerly used to manufacture refrigerators and freezers has been for sale since the closure of the Whirlpool facility in 2012.

According to the Sebastian County Tax Assessor’s Real Estate Division, the 1.5 million-square-foot Whirlpool manufacturing building and land was appraised in 2015 at $11.3 million with $119,028 in taxes paid that year. Whirlpool spokesman Jeff Noel said in 2015 after a two-year remediation project for trichloroethylene contamination there were “no findings that changed the conclusion that there remains no health risk to Fort Smith residents from exposure to TCE in the groundwater beneath or near the Whirlpool property.” The findings were included in Whirlpool’s 2015 report to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

“We now have 1.2 million square feet of first floor space and 300,000 square feet of mezzanine space that will actively attract jobs to the community instead of sitting unused,” said Tim Allen, president and CEO of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Add to that a partner who shares our goal of growing and recruiting business and this is a big win for Fort Smith. Phoenix has a solid record of attracting quality tenants and rehabilitating large regional properties. The future for jobs and ancillary capital investment in Fort Smith is bright.”

David Marks, managing director of Phoenix Investors said the acquisition is consistent with Phoenix’s strategy of acquiring industrial properties in need of capital improvements and repositioning, and applying metrics to maximize potential.

Phoenix Investors continues to expand its industrial portfolio throughout the United States focusing on the revitalization of former single tenant manufacturing facilities,

Marks added.” Ultimately, this strategy leads to positively transforming communities and restarting the economic engine in the communities in which Phoenix operates. Today, Phoenix’s portfolio has grown to over 17 million square feet and stretches across 22 states.”

Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders said the sale “reconfirms what Fort Smith residents and businesses already know; Fort Smith is the place for companies to do business.”

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