The former headquarters of American Motors Corp. sold Tuesday afternoon for a lone $600 bid in the county’s tax foreclosure auction. The winning bidder, whose name wasn’t immediately available, will also have to pay the facility’s summer tax bill of $160,631. Bidding started earlier this month at $500 and ended at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday. The 1.4 million-square-foot facility on Plymouth Road near Schaefer was among the 25,500 properties up for sale during the second round of the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction that ends Thursday.
The massive complex was a hub of Detroit innovation for more than eight decades, but became a dumping ground in just three years, according to a 2013 Detroit News article that highlighted its plight. As recently as 2009, more than 1,000 Chrysler employees worked at the site designing Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos. The complex, which opened in 1927, also was home of Kelvinator, a refrigerator manufacturer.
Creative destruction is part of capitalism, and AMC itself was formed by a merger between Nash and Hudson motor car companies, and underlay the success of the Romney family. But wreckage is never particularly inspiring to behold, especially when that wreckage is all that is left of what was once one of the pillars of American industry, the automobile manufacturing business. But that’s the can’t-do country we live in now.