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ST. CLOUD, MN-In response to the growing demand of its all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and snowmobiles, Thief River Falls, MN-based manufacturer Arctic Cat is building a 56,000-sf manufacturing facility here.

The $8 million plant, which is expandable to 200,000-sf, will be located on a 15-acre site, near an additional 40-acre vehicle test track. Initially, the site will house Arctic Cat’s growing engine manufacturing division and be used to assemble the company’s ATV engines. Construction is slated to begin in 2006 and be completed around year-end, with the plant operational by 2007.

At a press conference in the governor’s office Thursday, Arctic Cat’s chairman and CEO Chris Twomey and St. Cloud city officials joined Gov. Pawlenty to highlight the company’s affect on job growth for the Twin-Cities area. According to Twomey, the company will fill 50 new positions when the plant opens, and could potentially employ up to 150 people at the site once the new facility is fully operational. “These investments are critical to maintaining a vibrant Minnesota economy and continued job growth,” praised Gov. Pawlenty.

Twomey said the company’s site selection was in large part due to St. Cloud’s upper Midwest location, convenient access to major suppliers and well-educated workforce. However, according St. Cloud Mayor John D. Ellenbecker, financial incentives played a primary role persuading the company to locate to St. Cloud.

Through the Minnesota Investment Fund, the state is providing a 10-year, interest-free loan of $500,000 for the facility’s development, and through the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership program, the state will provide educational assistance. The site also qualifies for the Minnesota Job Opportunity Building Zones (JOBZ) program; if approved, the company would receive local and state tax exemptions through 2015. The City of St. Cloud is providing local assistance in locating the new facility to its Interstate 94 Business Park.

The company does not currently anticipate that its expansion in St. Cloud will affect employees at its Thief River Falls headquarters plant.

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