Chrysler to sell AMC property

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Chrysler to sell AMC property

Mount Clemens firm wants ex-headquarters

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Detroit -- Chrysler has struck a deal to sell the historic former headquarters of its American Motors Corp. subsidiary and three other properties in Michigan and New York for $2.3 million, the company said in a bankruptcy court filing.

The price is a fraction of what Chrysler once sought for the iconic Detroit property that produced helicopters in World War II and turned out millions of appliances.

The properties are being sold to Mount Clemens-based Manchester Plymouth LLC, which has already paid a $300,000 deposit.

In 2007, the asking price for the AMC headquarters, which also included former appliance factory, was $10 million, according to a Chrysler history Web site Allpar.

Chrysler acquired AMC in 1987, largely for its Jeep brand, and used the property for engineering development of the Dodge Ram and some Jeep vehicles.

It was home to the company's Jeep and Dodge truck engineering and testing facilities and employed nearly 1,900 people in recent years.

Chrysler Group LLC, which was formed by the acquisition of the Auburn Hills automaker's good assets in bankruptcy court in June, left the properties behind as part of "Old Carco."

The assets and others are being sold to pay its many creditors and wind down the estate.

The properties include the former AMC headquarters, a 1.4 million-square-foot complex on Plymouth Road in Detroit on 54 acres; a 40,000-square-foot building on Mark Twain Road in Detroit; another property at 20300 Mound Road in Detroit; and another site in Syracuse, N.Y.

The AMC site was built in 1927 by the Electric Refrigeration Corp., known as Kelvinator, that built refrigerators and ranges.

When Nash and Kelvinator merged in 1937, the site served as the combined company's headquarters.

During World War II, it produced airplane propellers and a few hundred R-6 helicopters. It even had a tiny airport nearby for testing.

It served as AMC World Headquarters from 1954-87.

American Motors Corp. was formed by the merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corp. and Hudson Motor Car Co. -- then the largest merger in U.S. history.

The facility included 370,000 square feet of research and development space.

In 2007, 1,600 people worked at the site, down from 1,900 in 2005, according to Allpar.

Objections to the proposed sale must be filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York by April 27.

If there are no objections, the bankruptcy court will approve the sale.

Chrysler is now controlled by Fiat SpA, which acquired 20 percent of Chrysler and agreed to run the company in its bankruptcy reorganization.

The company is working to sell off unused property that it left behind in bankruptcy, while addressing environmental concerns raised by states.

From The Detroit News:


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