From Jeep Parkway, the old Toledo Jeep plant appears to stretch out for blocks as it has for 100 years, making it one of the nationís oldest vehicle-manufacturing plants.
Peer through the large, street-side windows of the building, however, and the reality is considerably different. The rooms are gone; the third floor is gone. Everything is gone, leaving only the building front, much like prop-walled buildings on a Hollywood movie set.
The companyís decision to raze part of the Jeep Parkway plant occurred after the company last year opened its $750 million North Toledo Assembly plant on Stickney Avenue, where it makes Liberty and Wrangler vehicles.
Although the Liberty is completely built at the Stickney plant, the company opted for cost-saving reasons to keep the old plant partially open for preliminary work on the Wrangler before shipping the bodies to the Stickney plant for completion.
The result is a unique partial demolition assignment for DaimlerChrysler officials and Bierlein, the Midland, Mich., company hired to raze the buildings.
"You canít interfere with the current production; thatís the trickiest part," said David Miller, DaimlerChryslerís manager on the Jeep Parkway demolition project.
The company plans to continue production of the Wrangler through 2007, after which the company will decide whether to continue production at Jeep Parkway or use the site for some other purpose.
She noted that a pair of DaimlerChrysler Mack engine plant sites in Michigan now have new facilities located there, while Chryslerís old Highland Park headquarters, which had industrial usage at one time, has been redeveloped into an office park.
"Our decision will be a business one, but we do have ties with the city, we value the history, and we do feel a responsibility," Ms. Graham said.