Ford is one of the most historic automakers in the world, and its footprint can be seen in many American states, including Florida. The Blue Oval manufactured its legendary Model T at a facility in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, the factory is no longer salvageable, as The Jacksonville Daily Register reported that the 165,025-square-foot building would be demolished.
Though the factory stopped churning out cars in 1932, Ford continued occupying the building through the late 1960s, when it moved on to other business uses. The current owner took over in 2015 and more recently commissioned a study that found the waterfront building’s support pilings were unsound, making the facility unsafe to rehabilitate.
The local historic council tried to step in to block demolition, but the city council reportedly overruled the move. Ford would have repaired the building, too, with The Drive noting that a rep said, “If it could have been renovated, we’d have done it. It’s impossible.” Having said that, some are holding out hope that parts of the facility could be repaired or repurposed, so the building may not be a total loss.
Decisions to tear down historic buildings don’t always come with a suitable plan to reuse the site, but Jacksonville appears to have its ducks in a row. The site will be redeveloped into an industrial facility that promises to bring 300 new jobs, so at least there’s hope for the future of the location.
Ford has taken expensive steps to protect and preserve some of its other historic sites, including the Rouge complex, which came to life in the early 1900s and remains a significant manufacturing site today. The facility now houses an electric vehicle production center, where Ford builds its ultra-popular F-150 Lightning pickup. It’s also been retrofitted with environmental protection measures and water preservation systems that save money and help protect the local ecosystems.