A historic Ford factory in Florida that once built the Model T has been approved for demolition. Local preservationists attempted to save the building, but an inspection found parts of the structure would not be possible to save.
The plant is located in Jacksonville, Florida, along the riverfront near downtown, and encompasses 165,025 square feet according to the Jacksonville Daily Record. The facility was reportedly opened by Ford in 1924 or 1925 (sources reportedly disagree) on the basis of a former shipyard per Abandoned FL, and manufactured the Model T before switching to the Model A. Reportedly the only Ford plant operated in Florida, it continued producing vehicles until 1932, when the building switched to parts distribution.
Ford continued using the building until 1968, after which it was occupied by various businesses, including an importer and a van conversion firm. It has been derelict for years, however, and was purchased by its current ownership in 2015. The buyer commissioned an engineering report that found the pilings supporting the building in the river were structurally unsound, and that the building was not safe to repurpose.
"If it could have been renovated, we'd have done it," a company spokesperson reportedly said. "It's impossible."
The Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission reportedly tried to block the building's demolition, but was unanimously overruled by the city council. The 98-year-old factory will be demolished after all, and redeveloped into a maritime industrial facility that owners claim will bring 300 new jobs to the area. The city and preservationists speculated that parts of the Ford facilities (like the showroom and offices) may be saved, potentially retaining some evidence of the location's former significance.
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