Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR) announced it will build a new office campus as part of a consolidation of its 15 owned and leased locations to three centralized office campuses.

The changes — expected to take about five years to complete — will allow the company to deliver on improvements in productivity, operations, energy efficiency, and overall employee experience.

The three campuses will include the existing Benton Harbor Administrative Center and St. Joseph Technology Center locations, and a new three-building campus to be located on Main Street, between River Street and Riverview Drive, in downtown Benton Harbor. In addition to these three campuses, the company plans to retain its Hilltop Drive South offices in St. Joseph and the Harbor Town offices in Benton Harbor.

These changes will allow the company to reduce its operating costs, provide greater flexibility to adjust to changing business and staffing needs and drive enhanced productivity. Additionally, the new buildings will be highly energy-efficient, built to achieve Gold LEED certification.

“Thanks to collaboration with our four local government bodies, and with the State of Michigan, we will further strengthen our commitment to the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph communities,” said Whirlpool chairman and CEO Jeff M. Fettig. “With more than 4,000 individuals in our current facilities, we have simply outgrown our current space. This initiative is a good business decision as the new campus and related changes are expected to increase productivity and energy efficiency, and reduce operating costs.”

Contingent on approval of all state and local incentives, preparation for the new office buildings is expected to begin within the next several weeks.

Whirlpool is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $17 billion in 2009, 67,000 employees, and 67 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world.

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