Factory One to become research and archive center

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An artist’s rendering of the proposed Flint, Mich., Durant-Dort Factory One research and archive center. (GM photo)

GM and Kettering University have announced plans to transform the Flint, Mich., Durant-Dort Factory One into a research and archive center. The building, which houses rich automotive manufacturing history, has been chosen to relocate Kettering’s automotive collection of archives.

The research and archive center will occupy the east wing of the building on the first floor, while the second floor will house a meeting area for GM, community officials and education groups for seminars and further research.

The high-bay area of the west wing will house classic vehicle and artifacts from the facility’s carriage building days.

“Factory One truly is the epicenter of the automotive industry and, as such, it makes sense to create a world-class archive where anybody can learn how carriage builders in Flint launched the global auto industry,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain.

General Motors purchased Factory One in 2013. Since then, it has invested $3 million to repair the exterior of the building and install a fence for the parking lot on Water Street. Once plans are finalized for the upcoming construction to transform the building, work may begin in early 2016, with completion some time in 2017.

“This project is more than preserving our past,” Reuss said. “It is about telling the story of pioneers in manufacturing, visionaries, risk takers and innovators and how they helped build a global industry and continue to inspire people today.”

The news follows GM’s announcement to invest $877 million to build a new body shop at the Flint assembly to build the next generation of full-size pickups.

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