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Published: Friday, 3/17/2006

Firm's plans for owned, leased real estate uncertain

Dana Corp.'s stately Dorr Street headquarters, with its sprawling campus, is familiar to many Toledoans. The auto supplier's modern Maumee technical center is in a prime spot for I-475 motorists to see.

But the bankrupt Fortune 500 firm owns or leases numerous other properties in and around the region, from a pair of Richards Road houses near a headquarters side entrance to factories with more than 1.2 million square feet in Toledo, Archbold, Antwerp, Upper Sandusky, Wharton, and Lima, Ohio.

In all, the company has about 2,000 employees in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan in 18 facilities, including one it recently sold and another on which it decided months ago not to renew the lease.

The firm also has space in a building at 6156 Trust Dr. in Springfield Township that the company vacated three years ago. It is trying to get out of that $2,915-a-month lease along with leases on seven other vacant properties nationwide as part of its Chapter 11 case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

Whether Dana plans to sell or vacate some of the other properties during the bankruptcy is uncertain. The firm is working to trim 5 percent of its salaried workforce by the end of this year. It has 1,150 executives, engineers, and other primarily salaried employees in the Toledo area alone.

"Bankruptcy aside, we're always looking to get more out of the space we own and lease," said company spokesman Chuck Hartlage. "With respect to the bankruptcy, it's premature to say what changes it might entail with respect to our real-estate portfolio."

Dana Chief Executive Mike

Burns told The Blade last week that the company has no plans to sell its headquarters at 4500 Dorr St. or to move the home base elsewhere. The two-story headquarters, built in 1970, has 166,000 square feet, is valued by the county at $13.1 million, and is surrounded by 140 acres.

The company sold the Richards Road building on its campus that once housed the Dana Commercial Credit leasing subsidiary. It was purchased by ProMedica Health System for $9.3 million.

Elsewhere in the Toledo area, Dana leases its $30 million Maumee research center, owns another research center with outdoor test areas on about 300 acres near Ottawa Lake, Mich., and leases another Trust Drive building. The Trust Drive building was mostly vacated when the Maumee research center was built, Mr. Hartlage said.

The firm leases two buildings in Maumee's Arrowhead Park, including one on Indian Wood Circle with 30 employees to be moved when that site is vacated this year. And it is gearing up a leased Matzinger Road factory, where it will employ 85 to supply the Toledo Jeep Assembly complex.

Dana for years has been consolidating its local operations but has not yet indicated more will come, said Harlan Reichle, managing director of CB Richard Ellis, Reichle Klein in Maumee.

Of the factories Dana owns or leases in the region, the one in Antwerp was shuttered in 2003 after Eaton Corp. bought some operations but didn't want that facility.

Factories in Archbold, Upper Sandusky, and Wharton are to be sold as part of three businesses Dana hopes to divest this year.

In Lima, 95 of the remaining 380 employees will be laid off as part of an ongoing restructuring.

- Julie M. McKinnon

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