Packard Plant fetches $21,000 bid from anonymous investor


PackardThe sprawling, abandoned Packard Plant, which has come to symbolize Detroit’s industrial decline, has received a minimum $21,000 bid in the Wayne County tax-foreclosure auction, raising hope that someone will either demolish the ruins or convert the property into something new.

This is the second and final round of the auction, which includes nearly 15,000 properties. Each parcel has a minimum $500 bid.

The 1.5-million-square-foot Packard includes 42 parcels, most of them blanketed with crumbling concrete buildings, twisted metal and broken glass.

Bidding ends Oct. 25.

packard_9757Whoever wins the auction will inherit hefty costs. Demolition could easily exceed $10 million, and the annual tax bill will be more than $100,000. That’s not to mention insurance on a building that attracts a steady stream of graffiti artists, photographers, filmmakers and rowdy teenagers.

It’s why the cash-strapped wants nothing to do with the Packard, which was the largest manufacturing plant in the world when it opened at the turn of the 20th century.

The past owner, Dominic Cristini, told the city to “Kiss my ass” and let the buildings languish, failing to pay the property taxes.

packard_0651The plant fell victim to the industrial declines of the 1950s, closing most of the buildings.

More than a half century later, scrappers are tearing apart the building in search of metal. Discarded boats, cars and tires are scattered throughout the plant, and arsonists often set the buildings ablaze.

Over the past two years, police have seen an increase in muggings – some of them brutal – inside the cavernous plant.


Stay up to date on the county auction by visiting Why Don’t We Own This?, a user-friendly mapping tool with a host of information on all Detroit properties.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.