General Motors this week unveiled extensive renovations to its Durant-Dort Factory One site in Flint, Michigan – which is largely considered to be the birthplace of the Detroit-based automaker.
The ‘Durant-Dort Factory One’ facility was first constructed in 1880 by a local wool and cotton production company before William C. Durant leased it for his Flint Road Cart Company to use in 1886. Durant used the profits and resources afforded to him by his successful horse-drawn carriage business to purchase Buick in 1904 and subsequently started up General Motors in 1906.
General Motors never actually owned the Durant-Dort facility, however the automaker purchased the site in 2013 due to its historical significance. It spent $3 million to restore the exterior and this week unveiled extensive interior renovations to the site – though the cost of the latter wasn’t disclosed by GM. With the renovations, the site has been transformed into a 300 person events space with offices and also serves as home to the Kettering University archives.
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GM product boss Mark Reuss, who started his career with GM in Flint in 1986, was the mastermind behind the Factory One renovations. Reuss hopes the newly renovated site will be used as an academic resource for those within the automotive industry and also help remind Flint residents of the historical significance of the city.
“Factory One sparked the global auto industry and was a catalyst in the formation of General Motors,” Reuss said in a statement. “It preserves the stories of the early visionaries who built a brand-new industry in this city, within the very walls of where it happened.”