muckraker report

Group tours at Packard Plant? Visitors placed at risk

Packard Plant bus_50

A day after large chunks of the abandoned Packard Plant spilled onto the road last weekend, nearly striking a pedestrian, a large charter bus pulled into a litter-strewn lot and opened its doors. Dutch tourists clutching cameras walked out and began exploring the historic ruins.

A few days later, two tourists were carjacked in the same area and robbed of their money, camera and cell phones. It was just the latest assault on unsuspecting visitors who are drawn to the Packard’s 3.5 million square feet of crumbling concrete buildings, twisted metal and graffiti-covered walls.

For whatever reason, the risks aren’t deterring opportunists from profiting off of group tours of the cavernous ruins.

One such group, Motor City Photography Workshops, charges photographers to explore the Packard Plant and other abandoned buildings.

We “have been offering urban outings to Detroit to explore and shoot abandoned buildings since January 2012,” the site reads. “We have taken our members to over 40 abandoned locations in 2012 alone.”

Packard Tour_35Another local photographer rented a large charter bus from The Detroit Bus Company and took a group of Dutch tourists to the Packard Plant last weekend. They fanned out and explored the ruins.

When asked about the tour, The Detroit Bus Company said it had no idea one of its buses was taken to the Packard.

“We don’t and will never do public tours to any relics like the Packard Plant,” Andy Didorosi, president and founder of The Detroit Bus Company, told us. “We work really hard to make certain the content of our tours is both informational and safe. Places like the Packard Plant and Michigan Central Station are easy pickings for exploitive tour providers – we’d rather show people the wonders that $2 will get you at Tom’s Tavern.”

For more positive tours, check out the The Detroit Bus Company’s listing of events.

The Packard Plant is crumbling from neglect but is about to have a new owner when this week’s Wayne County tax foreclosure auction ends.

Other stories about the Packard Plant:

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.