Monday, June 27, 2016

Packard Automotive Plant, the largest abandoned industrial site in the world

When Packard Automotive Plant opened in 1903 in Detroit's east side, it was considered the most modern automobile manufacturing facility in the world. Built on 40 acres (16 ha) of land, the building has a size of 3,500,000 square foot (325,000 m2). It was the first time reinforced concrete was used for a building of the automobile industry. Inside, skilled craftsmen involved in over eighty trades constructed luxury cars for the Packard Motor Car Company and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation.

The factory complex closed in 1958 though other businesses operated on parts of the premises or used it for storage until the late 1990s. In 2010, the last remaining tenant, Chemical Processing, announced its intention to vacate the premises after 52 years.

Since its abandonment, the building has been heavily vandalized, while much of the wiring and other building material has been scavenged. The plant is often visited by graffiti artists, urban explorers, paintballers and auto scrappers.

Many attempts to sell the plant in the last years failed until a Spanish investor purchased it for $405,000 in 2013. Fernando Palazuelo plans on having six different uses for the Packard Plant Project (residential, retail, offices, light industry, recreation and art) that is estimated to cost about $350 million over the next 10 to 15 years. First redevelopment work on the site began in 2014. 

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