Music by the talented Marvin Gaye / Motown Records
The 3,500,000-square-foot (325,000 m2), plant was designed by Albert Kahn and is located on over 40 acres (0.142 km2) of land on East Grand Boulevard on the city's east side. It included the first use of reinforced concrete for industrial construction in Detroit.
The Packard plant was opened in 1903 and at the time was considered the most modern automobile manufacturing facility in the world with skilled craftsmen who practiced over eighty trades.
The factory complex closed in 1958, though other businesses operated on the premises or used it for storage until the late 1990s.
A number of the outer buildings were in use by businesses up through the early 2000s. In 2010, the owner of the last remaining lessee, Chemical Processing, announced his intention to vacate the premises after 52 years. As of March 2012, however, Chemical Processing remains on the premises, and the company's website still lists its Packard address on Concord Street.
Since its abandonment, the plant has been a haven for graffiti artists, urban explorers, paintballers and auto scrappers, and much of the wiring and other building material has been scavenged. In one incident, vandals pushed a dump truck off of the fourth floor. Karen Nagher, the executive director of the nonprofit organization Preservation Wayne, stated that she was irked to see people come from "all over the world" to poke around Detroit. "Piece by piece, they're disassembling those buildings, making it harder and harder to restore them".
Despite many years of neglect and abuse, the reinforced concrete structures remain mostly intact and structurally sound as of 2013. Portions of the upper floors of several small sections in various buildings have collapsed or been partly demolished and lay in ruins in the wake of several aborted attempts at demolition over the years.
The City of Detroit has pledged legal action to have the property demolished or secured. Dominic Cristini, whose claim of ownership is disputed, was said to be conducting construction surveys in advance of full-scale demolition as of early 2012.
On February 5, 2013 it was reported that aluminum letter placards spelling the Nazi Slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Makes Free) were placed in the windows of the E. Grand Boulevard bridge. Community volunteers promptly removed the letters.
Due to tax delinquency, the 43 parcels comprising the plant were put up for auction in September 2013. The starting bid was $975,000 (the amount owed in taxes) and there were no takers. Another auction is scheduled for October 2013 and the starting bid will be $21,000 ($500 per parcel.)
In April 2013, it was announced that AMC's Low Winter Sun would be filming around the location.
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Detroit Drone / iTVDetroit
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