Even if you don't know Detroit, odds are you know the city's derelict Packard plant. A go-to source of urban decay porn, the plant has become a haven for graffiti artists of every caliber, arsonists, the homeless and scrappers looking to gut the structure of its steel for cash. Detroit's firefighters won't even enter the structure to put out blazes for fear of injury. The Detroit Free Press took it upon itself to investigate why the structure continues to be an issue for the city. As it turns out, the plant was slated for demolition around 1999, but the city failed to get its paperwork in order at the time and missed its chance.

Now demolition is expected to cost more than $20 million, exceeding the value of the 35-acre site. While the Packard plant once boasted more than 3.5 million square feet under roof, it's now not even worth the effort of tearing it down. Since the greater Detroit area already has a preponderance of available land shovel-ready, the Packard site is at a disadvantage. But Detroit is currently making its way toward foreclosure, with the city already serving the current owner papers notifying him of $750,000 owed in back taxes. Even so, it may be years before the buildings come down. Check out the video below to see the plant as it sits now, and head over to The Detroit Free Press for the full read.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      Chris
      • 2 Years Ago
      As someone who is from Detroit, I just don't get it. This plant has sat vacant for decades, and it was slated to be torn down almost 14 years ago. At the same time, they had no problem tearing down the registered, national historical landmark Tiger Stadium (1912-1999) only 9 years after it closed down, despite the efforts by many in the community to try and save it. The city denied those folks, and seemed in a hurry to knock it down, and did in 2008 and 2009. They claimed it was a symbol of urban blight, and meanwhile, the Packard Plant has been sitting vacant since 1958!! Can someone please explain this all to me?
        collabplan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Chris
        You are from Detroit and you need help answering these questions? Show me one example of Detroit not acting completely dysfunctional. This is a city that has more than 10,000 abandoned homes.....10,000. That doesn't even include vacant/abandoned/blighted commercial structures. It is downright apocalyptic. Like most people, I root for Detroit, but the level of incompetence is hard to comprehend.
          Chris
          • 2 Years Ago
          @collabplan
          I'm aware of the incompetence, as it takes a special kind of it to take a once great city like Detroit, and reduce it to what it currently is. I was just simply pointing out the irony and curious to see what others had to say.
        cdwrx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Chris
        It was one of the few structures they wanted to tear down AND they were clear who the owners were. They've been sued so many times for razing buildings only to find they hadn't given the rightful owners due process that they are afraid to do it. It all stems from decades of incompetence.
        Brodz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Chris
        Maybe I can. I don't know anything about baseball, tiger stadium, or much about Detroit, but I'm pretty sure you don't need miles of five story buildings on millions of acres of land with even more millions of tonnes of concrete to play baseball.
      ammca66564
      • 2 Years Ago
      The really sad thing is that one section of the plant is thought to be the first of a type of building that has been replicated everywhere across the globe. It's the simple concrete frame filled in with brick and glass. Those buildings are everywhere, the the Packard plant is the first anywhere. In any other city it would be considered a fascinating treasure, a piece of history. In Detroit, not only have they no appreciation for it, they aren't even competent enough to figure out how to destroy it. Yeesh.
        cdwrx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ammca66564
        I don't know that it was unappreciated. They simply haven't haven't had the means to care for it since 1967. If you were the mayor of Detroit and you were handed $750M would you have tried to fix this place or would you hire police officers?
      Thipps
      • 2 Years Ago
      As someone who lived downtown Detroit (hope to return again) I must say when buildings like the Packard plant, Opera house and Train station are gone, Detroit will have lost part of her soul. I hate to see the day
      Tom Biddlecombe
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think the real shocker here for me was the $750,000 the current owner owes in back taxes! For a delapitated unused factory?! Really Detroit?!
        Brodz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tom Biddlecombe
        A factory they can't even be arsed to knock down because it would cost too much, but will charge taxes on. At least this old building has homeless people living in it.
      nemo227
      • 2 Years Ago
      If Detroit leadership really worked . . . ah, what am I saying; do the words "leadership" and "Detroit" belong in the same sentence?
      Erik Robinson
      • 2 Years Ago
      Trying to find the biggest eyesore in Detroit is like trying to find the wettest spot in the Atlantic Ocean.
      Jeepster
      • 2 Years Ago
      I used to drive through Detroit with fire in my blood, angry at the people who let it die thinking, "This will become the Motor City again!" Then I realized that trying to hold on to that legacy would run it into the ground even more than it is today. Detroit needs to wipe the slate and find a new legacy. There is something about being in Detroit that fuels a passion to be great. Look at all the big names the D has pumped out. You can't have that many people come out of a dead town. Musicians, athletes, businessman... It's incredible! I hope they get some real leaders who can harness the spirit that is still very much alive in Detroit to make it the capital of innovation again.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        F150Soul
        • 2 Years Ago
        Why must you always be so arrogant?
        Chris
        • 2 Years Ago
        Are you one of those insecure folks that gets some sort of pleasure out of kicking those who are down? It's obvious you are not from there,and I suspect you have never been there, so why comment? Oh well, the joke's on you. With all of its history and impressive architecture, it's just like a dying plant that needs a little water. It's sad that not even many of the people who live in the Detroit area don't realize how much potential it really has.
        Blackie
        • 2 Years Ago
        Detroit is actually a very amazing and pretty place. Especially if you can appreciate it for the unique contradiction, juxtaposition, and reflection of American society that it is.
        Ben Lee
        • 2 Years Ago
        The baseball stadium is nice
      A P
      • 2 Years Ago
      A perfect example of a Democrat run town......a never ending cycle of higher taxes to pay the corrupt city unions and those taxes killing development and new business....a liberal utopia where half of the people work for the city and the other half is on welfare. There is no way that the Dems cant take the blame since they have been in power for decades. Detroit is a huge toilet that needs to be flushed.
        S.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        Detroit: only Democrat mayors since 1962.
        mchlrus1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        The Democrat system works much better than the republican system when people actually work. Jacksonian Democracy: "Importance of the common man," but only when the common man works.
          dave and mary
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mchlrus1
          The problem is when Democrats "work", it's usually a government created, unsustainable, "job".
        RGT881
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        Erm, not true. I'm consernvative and I think Bing understands the severity of the situation, a situation he inherited from Kwamster and his corrupt goons. Couple that with economic meltdown we've experienced in Michigan and it becomes quite clear as to the monumental task ahead of Bing. Yes he's a democrat, but you should see what he has been able to achieve in terms of cutting the fat, getting rid of corruption and so on. Dennis Archer, another democrat did a find job also.
        Ben Lee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        Pensions dont pay itself!
      Klep
      • 2 Years Ago
      As someone who appreciates the building for it's former grandeur and current patina, I find it hilarious that the cost to demolish it exceeds the value of the land.
        Doug Utz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Klep
        A HUGE factor in the overall cost estimate for demolition is the asbestos abatement that surely will be needed.
      SloopJohnB
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice. Who d yu have t bribe in Detroit to get this done?
      diffrunt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Spoiled my tour of greater Detroit by wandering off the beaten path.
    • Load More Comments