The 900,000-square-foot plant, designed by famed Detroit architect Albert Kahn in 1936, was purchased for an undisclosed sum by Farbman Group, a real estate development and management firm. The company is spending $3 million to renovate the factory into a large industrial complex with more than 80 truck bays.
"We're working with light manufacturers, warehouse-users and food distributors to fill the space and continue to add jobs to the region's economy," said Andrew Farbman, president of the Farbman Group. "The plant has been well-maintained and offers tremendous power, overhead cranes and access to rail lines."
The plant, to be renamed McGraw Industrial Center, is located at Ford and Wyoming, near Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Rouge Center. "There are eight major automotive plants between Detroit and Ann Arbor where we can provide distribution and light manufacturing services," Farbman said.
Metro Detroit's industrial market has rebounded from two years of sluggish activity due to the 2001 economic recession, falling factory orders and overseas competition. Low interest rates over the last 18 months helped spark a recovery.
"With the industrial market coming back, multi-tenant facilities like the McGraw complex are well-positioned to capture the growth," said Geoff Hill, senior vice president of Grubb & Ellis Co., a Southfield real estate firm.
The McGraw Glass plant originally was used by Chrysler to build its midsize DeSoto brand, first introduced in 1929 and discontinued in 1961. It was converted to a glass production site in 1960 before closing last year. Chrysler negotiated the plant's closure during last year's contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union.
"DaimlerChrysler was pleased to work with the Farbman Group on the purchase and redevelopment of this property," Frank Fountain, DCX's senior vice president of external affairs and public policy in Auburn Hills, said in a prepared statement. "This transaction continues (our) tradition of insuring a viable future for our former manufacturing sites."