Our last look at progress in December of 2014 at the Packard Plant complex made by its new owner Fernando Palazuelo of Arte Express looked promising. Once the cold winter months set in, cleanup and repair work had to come to a halt. During that time more planning and other behind the scenes work was accomplished. Todays post covers some of the progress and includes two very interesting VIDEOS.
The image (above) shows only one of a network of tunnels under the buildings. Many of them are very unsafe and have been damaged by fires, cave-ins, and by scrappers when they took out the overhead piping. It is hoped that after cleanup and repair the maze of tunnels will by open for tours.
The first actual work on the buildings and the site was not able to be begin until the middle of October after all the purchase paperwork was completed, and Arte Express was able to finally move forward. In the last eight months and during the cold and harsh winter a considerable amount of work has been accomplished.
- This springtime photo puts the amount of work needed in perspective – All images by Arte Express.
This first phase of work included: assessments of the environmental cleanup needed, design work for the architectural restoration and changes needed, preparing permits and working with contractors, over 600 cubic yards of debris and contamination were removed, twenty four badly deteriorated poured concrete columns were safely taken down, and this spring the elevator shaft (photo below) has been stabilized and areas that needed it have had the mortar repointed in preparation for making the elevator operational again.
The Project has also come up with a timeline that begins with the Packard Motor Car Company Administrative Buildings. The first step will be to stabilize and repair the two structures that are connected by a bridge. Within two years Arte Express plans to have over 115,000 square feet ready for tenants needing both office and commercial space.
The overall timeline for the renovation of the rest of the useable structures at this point is between seven and fifteen years due to the large size and poor condition of the complex. Fernando Palazuelo and his associates are working hard and have accomplished more in six months than any of the many earlier failed attempts have in over a decade. We will continue this series when more progress has been made over the summer and fall. You can look back on earlier articles in the Packard Plant Project series here.
Brian Cattelle, a location scout for BARE USA, who has covered sites that have been abandoned in Detroit, Michigan, took this video on a visit to the plant late last summer. This video (turn down the sound) shows the scope of the hard work that Arte Express needs to plan for to save some of the other buildings in the future.
The SECOND VIDEO at the bottom of the post narrated by Joel Stone, curator of the Detroit Historical Society tells an interesting tale of Detriot’s architecture.
- This photo shows the elevator shaft that has been restored this spring. This part of the facility will be needed later on to assist contractors access the building and for moving equipment and supplies.
The interesting video (below) covers Detroit’s rich history. In it you can learn more about the famous architect Albert Kahn, who designed many of the factory buildings in the city. Other important buildings, and neighborhoods are covered that have contributed to the Motor City’s remarkable legacy.