- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - General Motors plans to convert a historic factory building near downtown Flint, which some consider the company’s birthplace, into an archive and research center.

On Saturday, just before the kickoff for Back to the Bricks, the automaker announced it would invest millions into the Durant-Dort Carriage Co. “Factory One” building that it purchased in 2013. The company has already spent about $3 million on fixes to the 25,000-square-foot building.

The building was leased in 1886 by Flint Road Cart Company founders William Crapo Durant and Josiah Dallas Dort. Durant later took control of Buick Motor Company, used Buick’s success to found General Motors and eventually helped form Chevrolet.

“Factory One truly is the epicenter of the automotive industry and, as such, it makes sense to create a world-class archive where anybody can learn how carriage builders in Flint launched the global auto industry,” Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, said in a press release.

Renovation plans call for an archive and research center on the building’s first floor, with an automotive collection from Kettering University. The second floor would be made into a meeting area for the automaker, as well as for the community and educational groups.

“This project is more than preserving our past,” Reuss said. “It is about telling the story of pioneers in manufacturing, visionaries, risk-takers and innovators and how they helped build a global industry and continue to inspire people today.”

General Motors said work is expected to start in early 2016, and finish in 2017. The next phase of the project is still being finalized, but it’s expected to cost several million and include the installation of a new roof.

The company also said it will continue to financially support the Durant-Dort Carriage Co. office building, which is owned and occupied by the Genesee County Historical Society.

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