Since opening in 1947, the plant on Boxwood Road employed thousands of Delawareans. As many as 1,200 cars a day once rolled off the assembly line.
From cars like Chevrolet’s Chevette and Beretta to the Pontiac Tempest and eventually the Saturn Sky, hundreds of thousands of vehicles hit the road after being built in Delaware.
But all that work stopped on July 28, 2009.
A silver Pontiac Solstice was the final car to roll off the line as General Motors closed the Wilmington Assembly plant amid the company’s bankruptcy proceedings. Workers signed their names on the car that marked the end of auto manufacturing in the Northeast.
There was a glimmer of hope in the fall of 2009 as electric car maker Fisker Automotive announced plans to move into GM’s old spot. There was a grand celebration of what seemed to be a last-minute reprieve for hundreds of workers.
But the workers didn’t come. Despite the hype, Fisker never produced a car at the plant. Even with more than $500 million in loans from the U.S. Department of Energy, Fisker’s plans to make 75,000 to 100,000 electric cars per year fizzled.
Today, the plant is much as it was in 2009. The massive buildings sit dark and empty.
But all that’s about to change. Local developer Tom Hanna has big plans for the future of this massive property.
“The idea that 1,200 cars a day were once rolled off the lines here, to me, is really just powerful to even think about. We hope to restore this property back to the economic energy that it once was for this community,” said Hanna, president of commercial real estate developer Harvey, Hanna & Associates.
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