Whirlpool officials confirmed Thursday they have sold the facility on Jenny Lind Road which closed in July.
The Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce says the sale is not a done deal.
“We have a potential purchaser of the building and right now the building is under contract,” said Tim Allen, chief operating officer for the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The purchasing company is Infinity Assets Solutions, Inc., according to Kristine Vernier, Whirlpool Corporation spokesperson.
“With help from several key real estate experts and economic development officials in the area, Whirlpool has entered into an agreement to sell the 2.19m-square foot facility. The company’s occupancy date is to be determined,” Vernier said.
Allen says Whirlpool may have spoken too soon, adding the deal has not been finalized. “We hope maybe we'll have a new owner between now and December,” he said.
City leaders say they are excited about the purchase. “When it finally comes out that they are interested you can rest assured they're serious,” said Philip Merry, city director.
After 45 years Whirlpool closed their Fort Smith side-by-side refrigerator production plant in July, leaving the final 800 employees without a job. The plant employed more than 4,500 workers in 2006, but that number dwindled over time.
The chamber says the potential buyer is an investment group, not a company that will bring jobs to the area. “The chamber and the city, it's our job is to help them market the building and to find the right tenant for a long term tenant for that facility,” said Allen.
Over the next four to six weeks the chamber says Infinity Assets Solutions, Inc. will research the building and the community. “I think they'll move pretty quickly on moving forward with either purchasing or not, and we'll just have to wait and see,” said Allen.
The chamber of commerce hopes to have a definite decision in December.