Recent news and developments from the construction and demolition recycling industry

A lease sign hangs on the exterior of the Packard Plant on Detroit’s east side.
© Carlos Osorio | The Associated Press

Detroit begins demolition of long-vacant Packard car plant

Demolition of the long-vacant Packard Motor Co. auto plant in Detroit started Sept. 29 as crews began tearing apart a crumbling exterior wall of the massive structure, reports the Associated Press.

A demolition claw ripped and tugged on decades-old bricks and concrete along the upper floors of the old east side factory that for decades has been a symbol of urban blight in the Motor City.

Homrich, a demolition contractor based in Carleton, Michigan, near Detroit, is conducting the demolition, the city says in a news release.

The work follows up on Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s plan to start razing parts of the 3.5 million-square-foot Packard complex.

The city called the most recent work an “emergency demolition.” The plant is among dozens of large structures that Detroit officials have identified that should be torn down or renovated.

“The structure is adjacent to an operating business and creates an imminent danger to that building, its employees and neighborhood residents,” the city says in a Sept. 30 news release.

The Packard Automotive Co. built the plant in 1903, but by 1954, the structure had become obsolete, and Packard was producing cars elsewhere. The company would go out of business a few years later.

Ownership of the abandoned plant has changed hands several times because of unpaid taxes by different owners, dating to 1994. The most recent owner, Fernando Palazuelo-controlled Arte Express, had planned to redevelop the plant as apartments, shops and galleries, but that plan did not come to fruition.

Instead, Arte Express joined prior owners who lost control of the complex because of unpaid taxes.

Palazuelo failed to apply for demolition permits by a court-ordered deadline earlier this year. His noncompliance allowed the city to move forward with demolition plans.

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