Old Detroit Hudson Plant Slated to Resume Manufacturing Operations (really!)
The old Hudson body plant in Detroit has been purchased by an investor who plans to turn it into a factory to produce pre-cast concrete homes.
Bill Hults, a Chicago-area developer, bought the property at 9501 Conner in mid-November from the Ivan Doverspike Company, a firm that reconditions and remanufactures used automatic screw and spindle machines. The selling price was not disclosed.
Located at the corner of Conner and Gratiot Avenues, the plant was designed by famed architect Albert Kahn (who also designed Hudson's main factory) and was built in 1925 for a Hudson supplier. Hudson purchased the building in the late 1920's. Hudson bodies were fabricated in the building, then trucked down the street to the main assembly plant on Jefferson Avenue. Hudson closed the plant when they ended operations in Detroit in 1954. In 1956, General Motors purchased the building and it served as a Cadillac stamping plant until the Poletown plant opened in 1985. The Doverspike company purchased the property in 1993 and vacated it in 2013.
Mr. Hults gained some fame last November as the high bidder for the derelict Packard factory in Detroit. However, after making a non-refundable deposit of $200,000, he failed to meet the deadline for handing over the rest of his $2 million dollar bid, and thus lost the deal. The ex-Hudson plant purchase followed soon thereafter.
Hults says he'll invest $35 to $40 million into the Conner Avenue building. "We are turning it back into a functioning manufacturing facility," he said. "We are going to put a pre-cast panel company in there and a modular pre-cast company in there, and we are going to use that to build urban, multifamily in-fill housing."
At present, ""we are essentially stripping everything out of the building," he said. "It hasn't been a stamping plant for 35-40 years, so we are doing everything you can imagine."
The plant is one of the three Hudson factories still existing. The others are Hudson's first factory (the old Aerocar factory at the northwest corner of Mack and Beaufait, in Detroit) and the Tillbury, Ontario assembly plant in Canada.
For a recent YouTube tour through part of the factory, follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=NqQa4ig2xTA#t=18
(PS -- I'm not 100% sure of some of these historic dates and facts...please advise if you have better information)
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I drove around it back in 2008 and it pretty much looked like it does in the video-rough! And the neighborhood around it looked rougher. The following year in 2009, on a very beautiful sunny day and during the National at Pontiac, I drove my '50 Pacemaker in front of the plant to take a few photos of it.