Whirlpool Keeping Indiana Development Center

Even as it shuts down its 1,100-worker refrigerator factory in Evansville, Ind., the company plans to keep its product design center in the city.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) -- Whirlpool Corp. will keep a product design center in Evansville even as it shuts down its 1,100-worker refrigerator factory in the city.

A plan was announced Wednesday under which the city and the local airport authority will buy 105 acres Whirlpool owns near Evansville Regional Airport and lease the design center back to the company.

Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool says it will keep nearly 300 employees at the design center. It announced in August that the refrigerator factory would close in mid-2010, with that production work moving to Mexico.

Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel (WINE'-zap-fuhl) says he's glad the city will be keeping the engineering and other professional jobs at the Whirlpool center.

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