City begins demolition of second portion of Packard Plant; ramps up efforts to remove remaining sections
The City of Detroit has begun demolition of a second major portion of the Packard Plant, the city’s largest and most notorious remaining abandoned auto factory. Emergency demolition began on the first portion the plant at 6199 Concord in late September 2022. Demolition crews from Detroit-based Homrich Wrecking have begun removing another major section located at 1539 E. Grand Boulevard.Unlike other portions of the 3.5 million sq. ft. Packard Plant that will be demolished, the front wing of 1539 E. Grand Boulevard will remain and be marketed for redevelopment in an effort to retain a portion of the plant’s history. Until recently, 1539 Grand Boulevard was the last remaining city-owned portion of the plant that had not been demolished. However, 33 additional parcels of the plant previously owned by Fernando Palazuelo’s Arte Express recently reverted to city ownership. The vacant parcels slipped into tax foreclosure and were not bought at the foreclosure auction. For nearly a decade, a majority of the sprawling plant was owned by Palazuelo’s Arte Express. Wayne County foreclosed on the property due to more than $1.5M in unpaid taxes, water drainage costs and blight tickets. “We made a promise to Detroiters and local business owners in this neighborhood to transform this property from blight to beauty,” said Demolition Director LaJuan Counts. “Today, we take another step to make good on our promise by beginning to demolish the next major structure on this site.” Counts added that her team has begun the process of surveying the remainder of the plant and soliciting preliminary bids to demolish additional sections of the plant.
During Mayor Duggan’s State of the City Address last March, he prioritized the Packard Plant, pointing out that the city has either begun or announced plans to remove or renovate nearly all the city’s most infamous vacant buildings. These include the former Michigan Central train station, Lee Plaza, Cadillac Stamping Plant, AMC Headquarters and Fisher Body 21. Packard tops a list of 100 vacant commercial structures Mayor Duggan has said will be addressed either through redevelopment or demolition during his third term in office.