New security at Packard Plant chases away long-time scrappers

Scavengers have been tearing apart the sprawling Packard Plant for years, hauling off scrap metal for quick cash.

For a few, it was a full-time career.

But that appears to be coming to an end after Peru-based developer Fernando Palazuelo took over ownership for $405,000 last month and planted 24-hour security outside of the ruins. Security has spent the first few days of this week chasing out scrappers, who have proven to be persistent.

Over the past two years, scrappers have grown bolder and more reckless, causing fires, tearing down buildings and trying to topple the enormous water tower. Health officials have expressed concerns for people who live nearby.

The plan to transform the Packard into a mixed-use site is long-term and costly – approximately $350 million over 10 to 15 years, according to Palazuelo. So nothing is certain.

The Packard has been a lawless wasteland for decades, attracting vandals and robbers. On Christmas eve, urban explorers found a dead body.

But for now, the Packard is guarded for the first time in many years, offering hope of a new life for one of the world’s most iconic ruins.


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.

  • Tad

    Its funny how this guy thinks the packard is going to be anything other then an eyesore. The building will soon be open for business again for the scrappers. Theres no way that he can fix all the problems and make a profit out of the place in his life time.

  • Johnny

    Hey Palazuelo, how about turning the site into something that will help people, like employ them? How about a large donation to the detroit economy? or how about metal scrap places stop taking anything from anybody that comes in off the street with a good story? I’m sure all suggestions are futile. Just makes me sad to hear that a place of such provenance…once…is falling to the way side like this. I’m not exactly sure what a “virtual community for auto suppliers” is, but I guess we’ll see if it actually happens, or helps.

    • Shai_Hulud

      What do you call paying $400,000 for a piece of utterly useless, and incredibly toxic real estate if not a donation?

  • Bruce Channell

    Better late than never……

  • John Golembiewski

    That’s some progress:)

  • vinspee

    Good to see! It’s amazing what lengths people will go to for cash.

  • Dvs

    Next, the ruin pornographers…

  • Gary

    Good. Some of scrappers deserve a good ass-kicking too.

  • Toka313

    If the police no longer respond to calls at the plant, then why would security guards scare off a scrapper?

    • vinspee

      The security guards probably have guns. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if police would respond to the security guards’ calls.

      • Tad

        Security guards do nothing! But sit on their ass!