Has the judge seen the rest of Detroit?
Citing that the structure has become a public nuisance, a judge has ordered the demolition of the deteriorating Packard auto plant in Detroit. Despite its historical significance, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan ordered the owners to demolish all structures on the former site of Packard production. The owners have 42 days to start the demolition and abatement work, and 90 days to have it totally cleared out.
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“Judge Sullivan’s order brings us a step closer to finally addressing the dangerous and blighted portions of the Packard Plant Mr. Palazuelo has done virtually nothing with since he bought it out of foreclosure in 2013, other than amass more than a million dollars worth of unpaid drainage bills, property taxes and blight tickets,” Detroit Acting Corporation Counsel Chuck Raimi said Wednesday.
“If he doesn’t meet this requirement, the city will consider its options, which include doing the demolition itself and pursuing both his company and him personally for the considerable cost of that work,” Raimi said. “The city fully intends to rid the community of this massive blighted complex once and for all.”
Designed by Albert Kahn, the Packard plant was built in the early 1900s and has 36,000 employees by the 1940s. After the complex closed in 1958, it was used by other businesses and for storage until the 1990s. In the late 1990s, the building was used for underground raves. It was purchased by the current owners with the intention of renovating it, but the project was abandoned in October 2020 and listed for sale.
There’s likely no way to stop what’s coming. If the owner fails to comply, the city will tear it down and send them the bill. If someone bought it with plans to renovate, maybe the judge would grant a temporary halt of the order, but if it hasn’t happened at this point, it’s not likely. What a sad, whimpering ending to the once booming factory, and appropriate callout to the current state of the spirit of the automotive industry.