Elkhart-based Forest River RV has announced plans to expand in Noble County. The manufacturer says it has acquired three buildings totaling nearly 160,000 square feet in the Ligonier Industrial Park with plans to create about 500 jobs over the next few years, but there are also plans to expand even further.

The newly-acquired buildings will house Forest River’s IBEX Travel Trailer production, parts and service center. The company says it expects to ramp up production by the end of the month, with the first travel trailer expected to come off the production line in early December.

“We are excited to continue expanding our operations in Noble County where we have access to a talented workforce, strong RV manufacturing history and ecosystem, and business-friendly environment,” said Mike Stump, director of public relations for Forest River Inc. “We are grateful for the support of the City of Ligonier, their local and county development partners, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and look forward to welcoming new employees who will help us continue to deliver high-quality products to customers around the world.”

The Noble County Economic Development Corp. says Forest River’s expansion in Ligonier isn’t stopping with the acquired buildings. The company also has plans to invest $4.4 million to acquire an additional 65 acres in the industrial park and build three, 95,000-square-foot buildings. While additional details have not been released, the company says it expects to add more than 300 additional jobs when the project is complete.

“This is a great win for the City of Ligonier, of course, but also for all of Noble County,” said Gary Gatman, executive director of the Noble County EDC. “It is a great example of how we can grow the local economy when we collaborate and work together. We welcome Forest River’s expansions and look forward to a long and prosperous partnership in Noble County.”

Forest River already has a presence in Ligonier and employs some 160 workers. In August, the company detailed plans to expand its operations in DeKalb and LaGrange counties and add nearly 370 jobs by 2023.