Packard Plant bids reach $225,000 as auction ends today

PackardThe sprawling, abandoned Packard Plant, which has become an international symbol of Detroit’s industrial decline, will have a new owner for the first time in decades when all 42 parcels are sold at today’s Wayne County tax-foreclosure auction.

The 3.5 millions square feet of ruins will be sold to the highest bidder at 4:45 p.m., raising some hope that a developer will demolish the site or convert it into something new. But with demolition costs estimated at $15 million or more, city officials are privately concerned the Packard could remain a lawless wasteland if the new owners only tear apart the buildings for millions of dollars of metal.

The Packard also has numerous safety issues, including constant fires, trespassing, scrapping and assaults. Two tourists were carjacked recently, and large chunks of the building are raining down on the road.

In addition, 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.

During the first phase of the auction, there were no takers on the Packard, which was selling for a minimum bid of nearly $1 million. Bidding started at $21,000 in the second phase – or $500 per parcel.

Check back for updates throughout the day.

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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.