Reporting Mike Campbell
WIXOM (WWJ) - Demolition has begun on one of the biggest, empty building sites in southeast Michigan: the old Ford Wixom Assembly Plant.
The facility, which is visible from I-96 and Wixom Road, has been closed since 2007. In the five years since, rumors were abound that the property would become a movie-making studio, and later a manufacturing park catering to the new-energies sector – but both of those plans fizzled out.
As WWJ’s Mike Campbell reports, the recent demolition activity at the plant may be for a Menards store, this according to Wixom Mayor Kevin Hinkley.
The home improvement chain has reportedly has bought 45-acres of the property. Reports say 10 to 15 acres would be for a Menards store and the rest to be sold or leased as retail out lots.
Hinkley said he was meeting Wednesday night with Ford officials and officials from an unknown company, presumable to talk about the balance of the property.
A Menard Stores spokesman didn’t mention Wixom as a location among the four new stores coming to Michigan next year, but says they’re always looking for new locations. If they did plan a new store in Wixom, the site likely wouldn’t be completed until early 2014.
The last reported interested buyer was Maryland-based Townsend Energy Solutions, partnering with Dynapower Corp. of Vermont, to build a $238 million plant that would produce batteries and charging stations for emerging electric vehicles and employ up to 875 people.
A statement issued by Ford said the company is continuing ”to ready the former Wixom Assembly Plant for sale. The activity taking place regarding demolition is a routine part of the decommissioning process. We are working toward a sale of the property, but don’t have anything else to share right now.”
The plant and property are currently listed for sale: Over four million square feet of office and manufacturing building space on 280 plus or minus acres, for $30.9 million. That’s $7.46/sq. ft. or $110,357/acre.
Ford currently is paying $183,000 in property tax to the city Wixom. Just 10 years ago, that amount was $1.46 million.