packard plant

Arts & Culture
7:00 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Not just another movie about Detroit: Free Press Film Fest kicks off an experiment

On opening night, the festival audience filled most of the Fillmore Theater in Detroit.
Kate Wells

"One great movie can change you," the ads said. See if they're right: listen to the full story above.

I like movies. You like movies.

So let’s get together, watch some new documentaries about Detroit, and then talk with the people who actually have the power to fix some of the stuff that’s wrong in this city.

That’s the idea behind the first-ever Detroit Free Press Film Fest, which kicked off last week with a line stretched for blocks around the Fillmore Theater.

Read more
Detroit
2:23 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Next Packard Plant bidder has another week to come up with the money

Inside the former Packard Plant.
Angelique DuLong wikimedia commons

DETROIT (AP) — The Wayne County treasurer has given a Chicago developer a one-week deadline to come up with the remaining funds on his $2 million bid for a sprawling former Detroit car plant.

William Hults has produced $200,000 in nonrefundable deposits for the dilapidated auto factory, but has yet to produce the remaining $1.8 million.

The treasurer's office says Hults has until Nov. 15 to pay up.

Hults wants to convert the site into a commercial, residential and entertainment development.

A Texas doctor's $6 million top bid on the blighted property was thrown out last month after she missed a payment.

The No. 3 bid is from Fernando Palazuelo of Peru.

Opinion
10:57 am
Thu October 31, 2013

The trick's on Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 10/31/13

Well, it’s Halloween, and once upon a time the worst that could happen is that kids would rub soap, or occasionally wax, into the windows of your car. Plus the risk that you would get sick from eating too much candy. But we live in a different age, and for Detroit, this is just one more day of horrors in a long series of nightmares.

The city is attempting to file for bankruptcy, and there is a real threat that the courts will make Detroit sell off the assets of the Detroit Institute of Arts to pay some of the creditors.

Detroit desperately needs a turnaround, and a lucky break, and unfortunately, seems doomed over and over to embarrassment. The most recent example is the idea that someone would pay millions of dollars for the destroyed and crumbling old Packard auto plant. True, it is a part of Detroit history. My late father-in-law worked there as a young engineer, and helped close it down when Packard dissolved.

But that was in 1958. The plant long ago became an eyesore. Fifteen years ago, it was a popular site for drug-induced “rave” parties. Today, it is a ghastly and unsalvagable ruin.

Read more
Economy
5:14 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Big bid for Packard Plant fails to materialize

Part of the Packard Plant
Angelique DuLong

The $6 million bid for Detroit's blighted Packard Plant site sounded too good to be true.

And it was.  

After issuing an incoherent statement about her intentions, a Texas doctor who made the astonishing bid for one of the city's most infamous eyesores failed to send a $2 million dollar "good faith" payment to Wayne County.

The county is now in talks with the second highest bidder - a man who also failed to make good on a previous offer for the property.

Read more
Economy
12:34 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Winning bidder for crumbling Packard plant plans to build modular homes and offices at site

Albert Duce Wikimedia Commons

Last Friday, Jill Van Horn of Ennis, TX put in a winning $6 million bid for the 40 acre vacant Packard plant site in Detroit.

Today, we hear plans for what she plans to do with the site.

From their statement:

Dr. Jill Van Horn, along with her partners and investors from Detroit, Wall Street and International firms, has a complex plan to transform what feel [sic] is an "Internationally recognized symbol of Detroit's decline" into a new economic center on the East side of Detroit.

The Packard site will be renovated, immediately providing thousands of jobs for area residents. The new site will specialize in logistics and construction. Modular homes and offices will be constructed on the site and shipped all over the world. Building supplies will also be made here. One analyst believes that over 6000 trained employees will be needed to fully an this operation. 

Business
10:30 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Winning Packard plant online auction bid tops $6M

DETROIT (AP) - A former car plant and symbol of Detroit's economic decline appears to have sold for just over $6 million at a tax foreclosure auction to a bidder from Texas.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report that someone registered as Jill Van Horn of Ennis, Texas, put in the winning bid during Friday's online public auction for the Packard plant.

The auction opened on October 8th at $21,000. The full bid amount is due by the end of Monday.

Stateside
7:06 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Should the Packard Plant be saved?

Albert Duce Wikimedia Commons

An interview with Anya Sirota and Robin Boyle.

Wayne County officials say they soon hope to close a deal with a developer to buy a former car plant: the Packard Plant, a crumbling 35-acre site on Detroit's east side. It's become an iconic image that, to many, represents industrial decay and the decline of a once-proud Detroit.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report the deal between the county and Evanston, Illinois based developer Bill Hults is tentatively set to close next week. Hults wants to convert the 110-year-old facility into a commercial, housing and entertainment complex.

Many hurdles remain for Hults, who hasn't disclosed his partners or completed a project of this size. 

Hults plans to buy the plant for its $1 million unpaid tax bill.

If the deal fails, the complex would be put in a public auction in September.

Read more
Politics & Culture
7:00 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

It's getting close to back-to-school time. So today, we took a look at teachers -- in particular, teacher turnover, and what it can do a student's academic achievement. Teachers leaving their profession costs the nation billions of dollars each year. We ask what can be done to keep teachers teaching.

And, there have been some complaints about the cooler, rainier summer we've been having, but it turns out it's been good for our Great Lakes. Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa joined us today to tell us why.

Also, the historic Packard Plant in Detroit may be converted into a commercial, housing and entertainment complex, but is this feasible?

First on the show, it's Thursday, which means it's time for our weekly check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

And today he's got his eye fixed on the storm clouds that are gathering for the Detroit Institute of Arts. This particular growing cloud comes from Oakland County. 

Daniel Howes joined us today to talk about the troubles the DIA faces.

Business
2:18 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Wayne County plans to sell Packard Plant

Detroit's historic Packard Plant hasn't been in use regularly since the 1950s.
Credit Julia Field / Michigan Radio

Wayne County officials hope to close a deal to sell Detroit's historic Packard Plant next week. County officials say they've been in talks for over a year with Chicago-area developer Bill Hults to buy the property.

Read more
Offbeat
12:29 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Packard Plant might have a new owner who wants to rehabilitate the crumbling structure

Packard Plant
Julia Field

The skeletal remains of the rusting Packard plant in Detroit might soon have a new owner.

Built in 1911 by the legendary architect Albert Kahn, the factory produced luxurious automobiles throughout the early 1900s. It has since fallen into ruin, becoming a mecca for urban explorers and metal scrappers.

Read more
Auto/Economy
12:55 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Plans call for demolishing Detroit's Packard plant

The Packard Plant in Detroit.
Angelique DuLong wikimedia commons

DETROIT (AP) - A man who claims ownership of one of Detroit's most widely-known industrial ruins says he plans to demolish most or all of what remains of the sprawling facility.

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News report Friday that Dominic Cristini, who claims ownership of the Packard plant through Bioresource Inc., is awaiting demolition permits. He says he wants to start demolition within a month. He estimates it will cost $6 million to raze the plant.

Cristini says portions might be saved for historical value.

The plant was built in the early 1900s. The last Packard automobile was built in the mid-1950s. Other smaller industrial businesses have used the facility since. As the years passed, the plant increasingly became the target of thieves, metal scrappers, urban explorers and graffiti artists.

Detroit
11:51 am
Mon November 14, 2011

Fire at the old Packard Plant in Detroit

Some of the remains of the old Packard Motor Car Company in Detroit. Firefighters say they respond to fires at the plant monthly.
Becky Stern Flickr

A fire has been burning since at least 6:45 a.m. this morning in the old Packard Plant in Detroit.

More from the Detroit Free Press:

The fire was still burning at about 11 a.m., one of numerous blazes that firefighters respond to monthly at the plant, he said.

"When they’re over there with 30 (firefighters), that leaves holes in the city," Varnas said. "That’s why we have to stop these fires."

Arson Capt. Patrick McNulty said firefighters are only allowed to spray the blaze from outside the ruins of the old plant.

"There's standing orders not to go in there," McNulty said. "Too dangerous for the firefighters."