Packard Automotive Plant
|Packard Automotive Plant|
The Packard Automotive Plant
|Location||Detroit, Michigan, USA|
|Floor area||3,500,000 sq ft (330,000 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Structural engineer||Henry Joy|
The Packard Automotive Plant is a former automobile-manufacturing factory in Detroit, Michigan where luxury Packard cars were made by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana.
Design and operation
The 3,500,000-square-foot (325,000 m2), plant was designed by Albert Kahn and is located on over 40 acres (0.142 km2) of land on East Grand Boulevard on the city's depressed east side. It included the first use of reinforced concrete for industrial construction in Detroit.
The Packard plant was opened in 1903 and at the time was considered the most modern automobile manufacturing facility in the world with skilled craftsmen who practiced over eighty trades.
The factory complex closed in 1958, though other businesses operated on the premises or used it for storage until the late 1990s.
A number of the outer buildings were in use by businesses up through the early 2000s. In 2010, the owner of the last remaining lessee, Chemical Processing, announced his intention to vacate the premises after 52 years. As of March 2012, however, Chemical Processing remains on the premises, and the company's website still lists its Packard address on Concord Street.
Since its abandonment, the plant has served as a haven for graffiti artists, urban explorers, paintballers and auto scrappers. Scavengers have extensively stripped the buildings of wiring and other building materials. In one notorious case which was captured by the Wall Street Journal, a bunch of vandals pushed a dump truck off of the fourth floor. Karen Nagher, the executive director of the nonprofit organization Preservation Wayne, stated that she was irked to see people come from "all over the world" to poke around Detroit. "Piece by piece, they're disassembling those buildings, making it harder and harder to restore them".
Despite no longer being up-kept due to disuse, the structures remain mostly intact as of 2013. Portions of the upper floors of several small sections in various buildings have collapsed or been partly demolished and lay in ruins in the wake of several aborted attempts at demolition over the years. Owing to the reinforced concrete construction, almost all but those small sections remain structurally sound.
The City of Detroit has pledged legal action to have it demolished or secured. Dominic Cristini, whose claim of ownership of the property is disputed, is said to be conducting construction surveys in advance of full-scale demolition as of early 2012.
On February 5th 2013 it was reported that aluminum letter placards spelling the Nazi Slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Makes Free) were placed in the windows of the E. Grand Boulevard bridge.  Community volunteers promptly removed the letters.
Due to tax delinquency, the 43 parcels comprising the plant will be put up for auction in 2013. The auction will occur in September and the starting bid will be $975,000 (the amount owed in taxes). If the property fails to attract a buyer, another auction will be held in October and the starting bid will be $500 per parcel.
- Wright, Richard A. "Once teeming with auto plants, Detroit now home to only a few nameplates'". Detroit News.
- Anglebrandt, Gary (28 May 2013). "Packard plant among parcels up for auction of foreclosed properties". Crain's Business Detroit. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- Hinds, Julie (22 April 2013). "Detroit filming for AMC's 'Low Winter Sun' will put spotlight on city". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 15 June 2013.