Detroit Packard Plant $22 million renovation begins

It's a project three years in the making and today work will finally begin to redevelop Detroit's historic Packard Plant.

To watch the groundbreaking LIVE on Fox 2 News Now at 11 a.m., CLICK HERE.

The first phase of the project, which costs an estimated $22 million, will create a community of mixed-use spaces including multifamily residential units, recreation, artist work space and light manufacturing.

A Peruvian developer bought the property over three years ago.

The last car to roll off the line at the plant was in 1956. Companies then used the space for offices and other developments.

It has been in disrepair since the late 90s.

The entire area of the plant is 3.5 million square feet, but the first part developers are renovating is 121,000 square feet.

"This is a project of projects. Lots of good things going on in the City of Detroit but when you think of the massive nature of this project," said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

The developer Fernando Palazuelo is from Spain. He first got involved with the project in 2013.

"I was really impressed about the power of the charisma and the future of the town. Even in this difficult year of 2013, all over the world nobody thought Detroit was going to be able to survive," he said.

Charles Gibson, a 91-year-old former Packard plant employee, says he worked in the adminstrative services offices, and may have been the last salaried employee to leave the building.