Detroit’s Packard plant ruins getting smaller

Detroit’s most infamous abandoned auto plant is finally coming down after more than 60 years of being ravaged by scrappers and the elements.

The city last week said it has started demolishing a second portion of the 40-acre Packard Plant, at a cost of $1.2 million.

“Every day the Packard Plant sits here in this state is a day this neighborhood cannot move forward,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. “We are just going to keep going until this eyesore is gone once and for all.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year approved $12 million in funding to tear down the 3.5-million-square-foot plant, where Packard production ended in 1956. Although portions of the sprawling complex remained in use over the years since, the site came to symbolize Detroit’s decline.

A Spanish developer bought a large portion of the plant in 2013, with grandiose plans to renovate it into office, retail and industrial space. But that never came to fruition, and the city said it has regained ownership of much of the site due to unpaid taxes.

The city expects to be done with the current stage of demolition in March. It plans to preserve the front facade and market it for redevelopment.

“The Packard has a meaningful history,” Duggan told The Detroit News last week. “We are hopeful to find a developer that will preserve and reuse” a portion of it.

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