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Historic Jacksonville, FL Ford Plant Headed for Demolition

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Filed under Automotive, Ford, Jacksonville, FL, News

The historic Ford Motor Co. plant in Jacksonville, FL is set to be demolished, as the city has issued a permit for its demolition. The property, located in the Talleyrand area near Downtown and along the riverfront, is slated for future industrial development. ELEV8 Demolition has been granted permission to raze the nearly century-old factory, with the demolition process covering a 165,025-square-foot building. The property, situated near JaxPort’s Talleyrand Marine Terminal and beneath the Mathews Bridge, is owned by Amkin Hill Street LLC.

Constructed in 1925 (although some sources claim it opened in 1924) and known for building the Model A and Model T, the Ford plant spans approximately 170,000 square feet. The issuance of the demolition permit comes shortly after the Jacksonville Historical Society released its list of Jacksonville’s Most Endangered Buildings, which included the Ford property. Alan Bliss, CEO of the society, expressed the significance of historic sites and properties to the people of Jacksonville, emphasizing that the demolition of such buildings erases a part of the city’s culture, history, and life stories.

The assembly plant, known for its long quay extending into the river, was designed by Albert Kahn, a renowned industrial architect responsible for over 1,000 buildings for Henry Ford. The Ford Motor Co. occupied the site until the late 1960s. Despite the opposition from the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission, the Jacksonville City Council approved the demolition in October, granting Amkin Hill Street permission to proceed with the potential maritime industrial redevelopment project.

Amkin, under the control of investor Ramon Llorens based in Miami, purchased the property in February 2015. The company representatives explained to the Council Land Use and Zoning Committee that the plant’s renovation was deemed impossible due to structural issues, including unsound pilings and an engineer’s assessment that the building was not salvageable. Council members acknowledged the historical significance of the building but ultimately considered the deteriorated condition of the structure and the potential job opportunities in the Eastside neighborhood.

The 14.64-acre Ford plant site is adjacent to the property undergoing a $30 million improvement project by Fincantieri Marine Repair, aiming to enhance marine infrastructure and accommodate a 500-foot dry dock. This development will enable the shipyard to undertake extensive maintenance work on larger military, government, and commercial vessels, supporting 300 jobs.

While the eastern third of the building is likely beyond repair, some sections, such as the factory, former showroom, and office areas, could potentially be preserved, according to assessments by city Planning and Development staff and the CEO of the Jacksonville Historical Society. The Ford plant has held local landmark status since November 23, 2003, providing some level of protection against demolition.


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