Sad but True: Detroit’s Historic Packard Plant Could Be Demolished

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor The Packard Automotive Plant, Detroit’s former high-end automobile manufacturing company and currently a symbol of the city’s decay, could be demolished in less than a month, if the plant’s owner and city officials come to an [...]

The Packard Automotive Plant, Detroit’s former high-end automobile manufacturing company and currently a symbol of the city’s decay, could be demolished in less than a month, if the plant’s owner and city officials come to an agreement.

Located on over 40 acres on East Grand Boulevard, the 109-year-old building was designed by Albert Kahn as the world’s most advanced automotive factory.  The site is currently a huge complex of 47 derelict industrial structures covering 3.5 million square feet of land, a far cry from the vibrant set of factories that once used to employ 40,000 people to produce the most stylish cars around the globe. The factory went out of business in 1958 after it merged with Studebaker and, according to Detroit Free Press, by 1967 it had become the symbol of Detroit’s industrial fall, although several smaller businesses leased space here up until recent years. Since then the site has reached such a deteriorated state that it is visited only by curious Detroiters, freelance photographers, graffiti artists, thieves, and homeless people.

 In an interview for The New York Times, Dominic Cristini—whose company Bioresource acquired the Packard Plant in 1987—said that a renovation plan is out of the question because it would be much cheaper to tear down the site than to rehab it. The demolition could take three years to complete and would require $10 million, some of which Cristini hopes to recover through metal salvage. This might sound like a plan, but, according to Detroit officials, Bioresource owes the city around $760,000 in property taxes. Though it’s not exactly what Detroiters had expected to happen with this site (and most have expressed mixed feelings about Cristini’s demolition plan of this historic property), the plant is too large to be kept in service or sold parcel by parcel.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia