Navistar International says it will locate a new testing and validation center in Melrose Park, Ill., at a facility that has been part of Navistar's history for nearly 65 years.

The company plans to invest up to $90 million in the 80-acre campus over the next several years to create a state-of-the-art technology center that celebrates the company's heritage while developing commercial truck and diesel engine solutions.

The Melrose Park facility is intended to complement Navistar's integrated product development center that will be located at the former Alcatel-Lucent East campus in Lisle, as announced last month.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's administration committed an investment package of nearly $65 million, and Cook County issued $90 million in recovery zone facility revenue bonds to provide Navistar with access to cost-effective financing to support improvements at the Melrose Park facility.

"With so many older manufacturing plants shutting down across the country, Navistar sees an opportunity to leverage our assets and reinvest in an existing facility to enable our growth as a company," said Navistar Chief Information Officer Don Sharp, the project leader for the company's local development efforts. "This investment solidifies our partnership with the UAW, our commitment to Melrose Park and the state of Illinois, where we've built a reputation as a good neighbor and trusted business partner. We're here to stay."

Constructed in 1941, the Melrose Park facility originally was operated by Buick to build engines for the B-24 Liberator bomber. In 1946, Navistar's precursor, International Harvester, purchased the plant to build construction equipment and engines. Currently, the facility is home to Navistar's Engine Group headquarters, I-6 engine manufacturing operations and powertrain product development.