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Detroit’s 3.5M SF of Potential


Here’s what remains of Detroit’s Packard Plant, which opened in 1903 to manufacture luxury cars and is today a stark symbol of the car capital of America's decline. (Photos courtesy of Bisnow friend Abbey Jennings, who made the eight-hour drive through snow and accidents last weekend.) With Chicago-area developers wringing their hands about the high prices and scarcity of good land sites, these photos show our Midwest neighbor at bottom and ripe for groundbreakings. (To the dismay of graffiti artists and scrappers. Someone even pushed a dump truck off Packard’s fourth floor in ’09.)


Lima, Peru-based developer Fernando Palazuelo, CEO of Arte Express, saw the potential in Packard, paying $405k for the 40-acre site in 2013. Demolition kicked off last fall and Arte plans a 10- to 15-year historic renovation, estimated to cost $350M, that would include residential, retail, offices, light industry, recreation and art. (Palazuelo also has said he plans to build himself an apartment within the plant, a type of commitment not shown by many developers.) His incentive for auto industry suppliers: free rent for several years. (And access to the go-kart track he’s thinking about building.)