Photos courtesy of Carolyn Allmacher, who took them in October 2008. Thanks to Jim Skelly for corrections.
The Plymouth Road Office Complex (PROC) on 14250 Plymouth Road, home to Jeep/Truck Engineering for years, had over 80 continuous years of use by Kelvinator (as an appliance factory), AMC, and Chrysler.
The picturesque complex was built in a sparsely populated area, but over the years homes and businesses were built, and it is now in a fairly unsavory section of Detroit. The property has 1.5 million square feet of space on 50 acres, with multiple buildings.
Included on the grounds are 370,000 square feet of R&D space, 500,000 square feet of engineering/computer room space, warehousing, administrative/office space, a health activity center, auditorium, and cafeteria.
PROC was built in 1927 (according to the cornerstone; Chrysler history pegs it at 1926), to make Kelvinator refrigerators. In 1937, when Nash and Kelvinator merged, the combined company's headquarters was in the main building. Hundreds of helicopters were made there during World War II.
In 1954, when Hudson and Nash merged, PROC became an AMC's headquarters for some years; it was an AMC engineering facility until 1987, when AMC was purchased by Chrysler. At that point, PROC became the central engineering location for all corporate trucks and SUVs, a position it held until the building was cleared.
Development of various Jeeps (excluding the Patriot/Compass) and the Dodge Ram and Durango was centered at PROC.
In 2007, over 1,600 people worked in the complex (down from 1,900 in 2005). The asking price, as that time, was $10 million.
While Allpar reported on a somewhat premature rumor in late 2008 that the building was being cleared of its staff, Chrysler engineers were not to be moved to the Chrysler Technology Center until mid-2009.
The building was sold after Chrysler’s bankruptcy, to a buyer who flipped it to its current owner, Terry Williams, who was convicted in 2004 of running an outfit that takes apart stolen cars and sells the parts, and who owed $930,000 in taxes on the property as of April 2013.
Williams was accused of destroying the facility to get scrap metal; he denied this and told the Detroit News that he had a federal grant to convert the building into a home for autistic children. The Detroit News appeared dubious about his evidence for having such a grant. The city’s director of buildings and safety said there was no evidence of scrapping at the building, though the owners had a permit to demolish 200,000 square feet of the large complex, but the city did seize the property in August 2013 — too late to prevent a good deal of destruction, which might make it much harder to find a new buyer.
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