From cars to homes: Vacant Packard Plant to get new life?

The Texas physician who won the abandoned Packard Plant for $6 million in last week’s county auction plans to convert the concrete ruins into a site to build modular homes and offices, the investors announced this afternoon.

A spokesman said the new plant will create 6,000 jobs and bring new life to the long-neglected section of Detroit’s east side, where the sprawling Packard Plant has been largely vacant since the industrial decline of the 1950s.

The homes and offices would be built at the 3.5-million-square-foot site and shipped around the world.

If the plan works out, it would be a fitting new chapter for the historic Packard, which built luxury cars before becoming virtually vacant in the 1950s.

The $6 million bid shocked real estate experts and city officials because a lot of money will be needed to renovate the factory, which has sustained serious damage from scrappers, extreme weather and fires. Crime also has been a problem.

The Packard Plant didn’t sell during the first phase of the auction last month, when it could have been purchased for $1 million.

The winning bidder was Dr. Jill Van Horn of Ennis, Texas. She joined “partners and investors from Detroit, Wall Street and international firms,” according to the physician’s spokesman.

What’s unclear is Dr. Horn’s interests. She is not a developer and has yet to show proof that she has the finances.

Check back for updates.

Check out recent photos from inside the Packard Plant.

Other Packard Plant stories:

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.

  • danieldresden

    do we celebrate the death of a ruin porn site or bemoan the homogenization of Detroit?

  • Daniel Ferguson III

    Prison industrial compex coming soon ?

  • bebow

    A willingness to fork over 5 million more than necessary to make the purchase is not a good sign.