Techno guru envisions new beginning for long-abandoned Fisher Body

Fisher Body Plant 21 (Steve Neavling/MCM)
Fisher Body Plant 21 (Steve Neavling/MCM)

The founder of a German nightclub and record label wants to transform the hulking and abandoned Fisher Body Plant 21 in Detroit into a techno club with a restaurant, art festival and startup co-working space.

Dimitri Hegemann, 60, told the Wall Street Journal that he’s trying to acquire the six-story, city-owned building, which was designed by famed architect Albert Kahn and was used to churn out Buick and Cadillac bodies.

“Fisher Body is my first real love,” said Hegemann, who visited the plant during each of his past 15 visits.

fisher bodyThe 536,000-square-foot building is still contaminated despite environmental cleanup efforts.

According to, a site that chronicles abandonment in the city, the building has been “in steady decline, slowly being broken down by natural elements. Several sections of the floor have caved in, the cement being eaten away by water and broken by ice. At least one fire heavily damaged the ground level of the first floor.”

What if the building is too contaminated?

Hegemann said he then would consider Michigan Central Station, Detroit’s long-abandoned train station.

Hegemann is the founder of Tresor, a world-famous techno-music club.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • There is a very large abandoned building on Telegraph Rd on the southern edge of Pontiac, that is in better condition than what the buildings in this article sound like.

  • Wavejumper313

    This is just the sort of thing that Detroit needs. With such a huge building the club could change/evolve/expand over time. It would never get old and it would surely help grow the local scene. Currently, you can count the venues that cater to electronic music in Detroit on one hand: TV Lounge, Works, Grasshopper, Whiskey Disco/Oslo. They’ve all been around for quite a while in some form or another and I feel like it’s time for something new and refreshing.

  • Thomas Knodell

    He’s also going to realize that he can’t stay open until 10am like every club in Berlin and that the Detroit techno crowd has enough followers to fill maybe 1/8th of the floor there except for a major booking. I’m all for another club, but that’s not really realistic or sustainable.

  • javierjuanmanuel

    how many even 100,000 sq ft clubs are their in the midwest ? Even if he makes it one floor, fixes the roof, puts in windows he still has to keep up 5 times more building then he likely would ever need. That changes his cost structure allot. I mean this is great is he is a trust fund brat and his old man left him 200 million bucks and money means nothing to him.

    I am just very suspicious of any 500,000 sq ft dance club.

    Lets even pretend he mas the magic touch in the restaurant biz which is notoriously difficult, whats he need? 4,000-10,000 sq ft ?

    200 offices at 500 sq ft each equals only 100,000 sq ft.

    We need less dreamers and we need real jobs here. He is NOT going to do anything with the train station.

    Either of these places this guy would need 20 -30 million liquid cash to put up before a bank would even talk to him.