Packard Plant demolition resumes with interest already growing to develop Detroit site

Watching the next phase of the Packard Plant demolition wasn't just progress for the city of Detroit. It was personal for its mayor.

"Sixty-eight years but it was worth the wait," said Mike Duggan. You know my mom every single month asked me when I’m going to get the Packard Plant down. She’s been looking at it my whole life at least. So it’s a big day."

The abandoned and blighted plant is a symbol of an old kind of Detroit slowly disappearing from the city's landscape. Its demolition has been a longtime coming - but only began in 2022. 

It's sat vacant since the 1950s.

This year, 200,000 square feet of the building will be knocked down. Some will also be demolished further north of Grand Boulevard. And even bigger news is there are already proposals for what to do with the land.

"There is significant demand in this location, both for the Jeep plants and GM factory zero, this is prime location," said Duggan.

Duggan was flanked by other city leaders during Monday's press conference that preceded the next round of demolition. 

That includes Mary Sheffield, who has waited her own kind of eternity for something to change at the plot of land.

"I remember almost nine years ago, may have been more than that, where we had a proposal for this site. We were excited. We were energized about what this could have been and unfortunately that did not work out but we never gave up," the council president said.

Part of what made tearing down the building feasible is funding from the American Rescue Plan, which is helping with the expected $26 million project. It should be done in the next five to six months.

"You can see a lot of it has already been cleared out. This is an ideal site for manufacturing. I want to see people making auto parts again here," said Duggan.