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The Sun is Shining Again on Detroit: Ground Breaking for Phase One of the Packard Plant Project

It is finally official! The groundbreaking ceremony before work begins to restore the Packard Office Building and Bridge located at 1580 East Grand Boulevard was held two weeks ago at the site located in Detroit, Michigan. For the last three years, we have reported on the progress that developer Fernando Palazuelo and his Company Arte Express have made on its redevelopment plans for the site and Phase I of the project and are delighted to make this announcement.

A mix of private equity funding from Palazuelo’s companies, a Wayne County, Michigan loan, and grant, property tax credits, and a $5.2-million brownfield environmental cleanup plan are all in place. Altogether the package will finance the $16-million dollar renovation of the 121,000 square-foot Administrative Building and the bridge that connects it to the factory buildings. This first part of the redevelopment effort is expected to take between 18 to 24 months to accomplish.

  • Contractors and subcontractors inspected the Packard Office Building and Bridge late in the winter and placed bids for the rehabilitation project.

Kari Smith, director of development for Arte Express Detroit, has revealed that confirmed future tenants encompass a mix of: an engineering and consulting company, a security firm, a job training program and restaurant, and other prospective tenants. The ground floor of the administration building will also feature a gallery and an event space.

In the video below Smith, a historic preservationist, who’s grandfather worked in the Packard Office Building for 25-years details present and future plans for the compound. That video is followed by another showing drone camera footage taken at the site.

Learn more about the history of the site and redevelopment efforts at the Packard Plant Project. All photos are courtesy of Arte Express.

View our earlier reports covering the Packard Plant Rehabilitation here.

  • Kari Smith, director of development for Arte Express Detroit details the extensive project below.


6 responses to “The Sun is Shining Again on Detroit: Ground Breaking for Phase One of the Packard Plant Project

  1. Fantastic! Many of us have waited eagerly to see if this would ever take off—Thank God the right people with the right financing are able to make this dream come true.

    One question: Given the mixed-tenant roster for this location, will there be any condo/apt’s. included? I could envision some very nice living space if their plans down the road called for it.

  2. Wonderful news ! Being from Detroit originally I look forward to visiting again this summer to view the restoration of this iconic part of Motown…JPS

    • Wow, I’m thrilled that the Packard project is finally going to be a fact. It’s wonderful that there are people who have the forsight to visualize the project. God speed.


  3. Good news indeed. I am sad that the old Maxwell plant – when completed and then the largest auto assembly plant in the nation – in my home town of New Castle, Ind., was torn down a few years ago. It was an historic building, whose use passed when the ’70s recession hit New Castle hard. My GGF Newby helped bring the plant to New Castle in 1906. He was pictured in the Old Motor a few years back. He knew Jonathan Maxwell and Ben Briscoe, and was part of the US Motor Co. His son-in-law, Herman Teetor, and Herman’s family had started Perfect Circle, and all were involved with the Indianapolis 500 from its start through the 1950s. Lots of great motorcar and motor racing history.

    Thanks so much for the joy your bring each week via your articles and particularly the photos.

    By the way, I see two Ford Falcons in the one photo. I have two that individuals drive in my neighborhood!

  4. That’s great news about the Packard Plant coming back to life! As a fan of the automobile I wish that the car company was resurrected also, but that’s another dream… What if it was, but only in restoring the originals?:)

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