Thursday, October 11, 2007

New owners and development of Federal Screw Works property

The first time I visited Chelsea, Michigan back in the early 90s, it was to dine at the Common Grill (of course!) with some colleagues. As we drove on Main St. toward downtown we passed a non-descript old building with FEDERAL SCREW WORKS in large letters across the front. Someone said, "What's that? The IRS???" Everyone laughed.

Next time I visited Chelsea (to visit the Common Grill again!) with a different group of people, we drove by the building and someone said, "Hey, I didn't know the IRS had an office here!" Everyone laughed... again.

Years later, we moved to Chelsea (about 2 blocks up from the Federal Screw Works). My in-laws came for a visit, and we took them downtown to show off our new community. We walked by the building, and my father in law said, "Uh oh.. you didn't tell me the IRS was in Chelsea, too!" Hmmm, yes. Polite chuckle. Anyhoooo.....

The Federal Screw Works factory was always a bustling place during the day, with many strange noises and unfamiliar smells hitting your senses as you walked by. Friendly workers on break would always smile and say hi as I walked by with my children in the stroller. The plant shut down a couple of years ago, and it has been a bit eerie walking by the place now that it is quiet and empty. I'm not particularly nostalgic about it, because frankly some of those chemical odors were a little disconcerting. But because I pass by there several times each day, I have been very curious to learn what will become of the old FSW building.

Today, I found my answer in the Ann Arbor News:

Developer Magellan buys downtown Chelsea building

Ann Arbor News, 10/11/07
Ann Arbor developer Magellan Properties has bought a vacant factory in downtown Chelsea and plans to redevelop the site as a 31,750-square-foot retail and office project.

Magellan bought the former Federal Screw Works facility Sept. 21 for about $550,000 from the fastener maker. Federal Screw closed the site about two years ago, and it's been dormant since.

[click here to go to the full article]

It's good to hear of projects like this -- reduced urban sprawl and not leaving us with an old abandoned building as an eye sore. I hope this development is as successful as McKinley's revitalization of the Clocktower complex.

But first I'd better go take a photo of that old building before they tear it down. I wouldn't want to forget all those lame jokes. Haha!


Sgt. Wolverine said...

Ah, the FSW building. Definitely classic Chelsea. I am glad to hear that the site has been purchased; I hope the new development is designed to fit into its surroundings.

Is it odd that my strongest memories of FSW involve driving past the building and seeing workers out on strike? I remember they liked to hold signs imploring passing cars to honk if they supported the union.

Sarah said...

We live on that side of town (if I look out of one of my upstairs windows I can see the FSW building) and I would be so excited if a restaurant moved into the new development! I love being able to decide on a whim to go out to eat and not even have to drive anywhere to do so. (Case in point: last night my husband and I walked downtown and had dinner at Cleary's after I surveyed my pantry and realized I couldn't rustle up anything remotely resembling a real meal.)

So yeah, I'm excited about Las Fuentes coming to the Clocktower, and the prospect of yet another new place has me even more excited.

Mazenbloo said...

We're sad to have left all the excitement! We were very close to that building as well! And missing Las Fuentes coming in! My husband always said a Mexican restaurant would go so well in Chelsea. After all! It has 2 Chinese places!