Genk Body & Assembly was opened by Ford in the early 1960s. A site that spanned a total of 140 acres at the time of closure.
The first car to roll off the assembly line was the Taunus P4 Fords first front wheel drive car and within a year 100,000 cars had already been produced.
During the 1980s around 14,000 were employed here to assemble the Sierra and Escort.
Plans to close the site emerged in 2012. The site was running at 65% of its production capacity, with other sites also running under capacity the Genk site finally closed in December 2014 with a loss of over 4000 jobs. As if being the largest employer in the area wasn't enough to affect the area, a study by the University of Hasselt predicted that the knock on effect in the area could actually affect over 11,000 people as suppliers to the site would be greatly affected too. Around 14 million vehicles were produced on this site in its 50 year life. Demolition work is well under way here and the estimated decontamination costs of the site will reach around 11 million euros.
Anyway the Genk site now has little of interest to offer the urban explorer apart from a small building near the canal. We wonder through empty production halls to keep out of site of security and workmen. They really didn't offer any incentive to take my camera out of my bag. After passing through a couple of large buildings we finally reach our goal and make our way inside.
So it turns out this is actually a compressor house, the generating sets have since been replaced with four compressors. The demand for electricity was too high for the power plant and they sourced power elsewhere. Separating the compressor hall and the boiler house was a long control room. Quite an original style to it which was good to see. The boiler house was remarkably clean for a site which had been out of use for for over 2 years.
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