Ford repurchases glass plant; demolition likely
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
11/06/12 at 4:12 AM
Ford Motor Co. has repurchased the Zeledyne plant in southeast Tulsa and will likely demolish the facility.
The deal comes 15 months after Zeledyne LLC, an automotive and architectural glass manufacturer, closed down.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker does not plan to reopen the plant and in fact will likely tear down the building and sell any equipment and the 187-acre property, Ford spokeswoman Becky Sanch said.
The automaker purchased the property from Zeledyne last week for $4 million, less than half the $8.5 million price that Ford sold it for in 2008, according to documents filed with the Tulsa County Clerk and other public land records.
"It's unlikely that we would be able to use the property in its current form, and Zeledyne has been unsuccessful in trying to do so for more than a year," Sanch said. "We had a strong relationship with Zeledyne, so we stepped in here to help them."
She said it was not uncommon for Ford to work with troubled suppliers.
A timeline for a demolition was not announced.
The property includes a 1 million-square-foot factory with two float glass furnaces that were fully functional until the plant closed in July 2011.
Ford and various subsidiaries and spin-offs owned the property, once known as Ford Auto Glass, from 1974 until 2008, when it was sold to Robert Price of Tulsa.
Price formed Zeledyne, which continued to make automotive glass for Ford Motors and employed 650 people.
But the plant saw a rapid decline in demand from Ford and customers in its commercial building glass divisions as the economy deteriorated in late 2008, especially hurting the automotive and construction industries.
After spending millions on upgrades, Zeledyne began laying off people and finally put the plant up for sale in 2010. When no buyer emerged, the factory closed, idling the remaining 200 workers.
Della DiPietro, a spokeswoman for Zeledyne, said the deal was a "standard land transfer."
The sale also marks the end of practical business operations for Zeledyne, which also operated glass factories in Tennessee and Mexico. Those plants had been sold previously, and the shuttered Tulsa plant was the company's final piece of capital, DiPietro said.
Zeledyne does not plan to restart any form of manufacturing, she said.
Tulsa glass plant through the years
1974: Ford Motor Co. opens 800,000-square-foot glass manufacturing plant on 129th East Avenue near Broken Arrow Expressway.
1977: Expansion pushes plant to 1 million square feet.
2000: Ford spins off its parts units into Visteon Corp.
2005: Ford takes struggling Visteon units back under Automotive Components Group.
2006: Ford says it will sell ACG plants or close them by end of 2008.
April 2008: Tulsa native Robert Price buys plant from Ford and forms Zeledyne LLC. At the time, plant employed 650 people.
June 2008: Zeledyne opens $30 million upgrade to glass furnace.
September 2008: Zeledyne says it will shut down one of two glass furnaces for upgrades. Furnace never reopens.
June 2009: Zeledyne spends $4 million to upgrade architectural glass unit.
February 2010: Zeledyne says Tulsa plant and assets elsewhere are for sale.
March 2010: Zeledyne closes a furnace in Tulsa, lays off 210 workers.
January 2011: Zeledyne sells plant in Nashville, Tenn., leaving it with facilities in Tulsa and Juarez, Mexico.
July 2011: Zeledyne closes Tulsa factory, laying off about 200 people, and seeks a buyer for the property.
November 2011: Ford repurchases Tulsa glass plant and announces plans to demolish it and sell the property.
Original Print Headline: Ford repurchases glass plant
Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380