Preliminary work began today on the site of the former Packard plant as a crane and trucks hauled off pieces that presented a safety threat, according to a person overseeing the project.
“We have begun safety measures to remove reinforced concrete off the rooftops of several buildings that are hanging and are dangerous to the community,” said Kari Smith, the site project manager.
Smith estimated this phase, which does not involve tearing down any buildings, will take about two weeks. The work is being done by O’Brien Construction and the Adamo Group, Smith said.
Fernando Palazuelo, who owns the property, envisions restoring some of the 40-acre site and redeveloping it for commercial, industrial and cultural uses. He plans to apply for historic and brownfield tax credits to help pay for the project, which could cost up to $300 million and take decades to complete.
Residential and cultural uses are also possible, he said, including a charter school.
Palazuelo won the property late last year after bidding $405,000 in the Wayne County Treasurer’s foreclosure auction. The sprawling site has been vacant for decades except for urban explorers and others who have stripped much of what was left.
He pledged to hire Detroit workers, including the scrappers who have been dismantling the factory ruins for years. But Palazuelo’s efforts were delayed by a title dispute with the plant’s former owner, Dominic Cristini.
There has been no auto production there in more than 50 years.
The Peru-based developer said his company, Arte Express, will erect new signs at the Packard site and continue preparations for restoring the former Packard Motor Car administration building.