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Historic AMC HQ being chopped?

by David Zatz on

The historic home of American Motors and Jeep-Truck Engineering on Plymouth Road, known in recent years as the Plymouth Road Office Complex (PROC), is reportedly being slowly destroyed as its new owner is tearing out valuable metals, according to some sources. A Detroit News article yielded these accusations and a rebuttal from the owners.

When the old Chrysler Group, LLC went into bankruptcy, PROC was one of the properties that was not transferred to the new Chrysler Group owned by a pension fund, two governments, and Fiat.  PROC was sold to a new owner, who flipped it to its current owner, Terry Williams, who was convicted in 2004 of running a “chop shop” (an outfit that takes apart stolen cars and sells the parts), and who currently owes $930,000 in taxes on the property.

Williams claimed that he was not actually destroying the facility to get scrap metal, and said 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 building was opened in 1927 as a refrigerator factory for Kelvinator, and was used to build helicopters during World War II. The current Chrysler Group had no influence on its sale or use afterwards.  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. If taxes remain unpaid, the city will foreclose in mid-2014.

While the building itself is in good shape and has a grand facade, and has been modernized to support truck and Jeep engineering and prototyping, it failed to sell during the mid-2000s with an asking price of $10 million. The surrounding neighborhood appears to be the main problem.  Thanks, Mr. Crawford.

See more photos of the Plymouth Road Office Complex (PROC).

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