Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — FLINT (AP) — General Motors is buying the original Durant-Dort Carriage Co. facility, a century-old building in Flint known as “Factory One” that officials say was the automaker’s birthplace.
GM North America President Mark Reuss signed an agreement Wednesday to purchase the 133-year-old, 25,000-square-foot facility, MLive.com reported (http://bit.ly/18tL8ew).
GM also plans to become the curator of the Durant-Dort office building, which sits across the street from the factory. The Flint Historical Foundation currently maintains the office building, but it costs tens of thousands of dollars to heat and cool and to make needed repairs. Reuss said GM will now pay for upkeep and other fixes.
Plans have not been finalized, but the initial thought is to “make that a nice little museum with the original boardroom,” Reuss said.
“We’ve got a lot of really beautiful, historic GMC and Buicks in the company that don’t get shown a lot of justice,” he said. “One of the thoughts is that we’d convert Factory One for (historic vehicles to be shown), and we could launch vehicles like the trucks that are made here in Flint.”
Reuss did not disclose the purchase price, but said it was fair, especially considering the building’s historical value.
Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said Wednesday’s announcement demonstrates the Detroit-based carmaker’s re-dedication to his city.
“For anyone who doubts General Motors’ commitment to Flint, look no further than the announcement that the original Carriage office building and the original Carriage factory building are going back into General Motors’ hands,” the mayor said.
The news of the pending purchase came on the heels of GM’s decision to invest $215 million in Flint Engine Operations as part of $331.8 million in improvements at four of its manufacturing facilities. The move saved nearly 1,000 jobs.