In a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, Chris-Craft, America’s Boatbuilder Since 1874 and wholly owned subsidiary of Winnebago Industries (NYSE: WGO), opened its doors to a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Sarasota, Florida today. The new building, known to the team at Chris-Craft as Building 5, increases the company’s production capacity by 50 percent and spans over 70,000 square feet, allowing for the full build of boats from start to finish.
Using the latest manufacturing equipment and technology, Chris-Craft will build six models from 24 feet to 28 feet in the facility. The expansion also allows the storied boatbuilder to expand their model offering as it looks to continue to meet future customer preferences. Each Chris-Craft is built to order, following a detailed, meticulous process to ensure the finest quality product.
“I’m thrilled to see boats rolling off the new line,” said Chris-Craft President, Steve Heese. “The new building marks an important milestone in the growth of our company and the enhanced production capacity this new building provides will help our dealer network meet demand for our products and ultimately, ensure our customers enjoy incredible experiences on the water.”
Site preparation for the new building began in November of 2021 followed by an official groundbreaking in February 2022. The company anticipates the building will add over 200 jobs to the community and is currently looking to hire in the Sarasota area.
“I am on honored to join Chris-Craft in celebrating the opening of your new facility,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla) in a letter to the company. “Thank you for your work to continue Florida’s economic growth and create opportunities for families across the state.”
Originally based in Michigan, Chris-Craft has been manufacturing boats in Sarasota, FL since 1988. Chris-Craft was purchased by Winnebago Industries, a leading North American manufacturer of outdoor lifestyle products, in 2018.
“The team at Chris-Craft builds some of the finest boats in the world and I thank them for their effort to bring this facility from vision to reality,” said Michael Happe, Winnebago Industries Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to have the company as part of the Winnebago Industries family and are committed to continuing to invest in their future success and the marine industry at large.”
To construct the 70,000 square-foot facility expansion, Chris-Craft partnered with Ryan Companies US Inc., a national developer, builder, designer, and property manager offering full-service commercial real estate solutions based in Tampa, FL.