New brewery opening in Packard Plant site

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Adding to Detroit’s beer landscape, the Packard Plant Brewery plans to open at the historic site by mid-2019, officials say.

A “Packard Plant Brewery coming soon” sign was posted to a building in the 1651 E. Grand Blvd., a smaller building included in the site, but down the street from the sprawling former plant. Kari Smith, director of development of the Packard Plant Project through Arte Express Detroit, confirmed renovations are underway.

“We are currently in the pre-development stage and three different architects,” Smith said.

The in-house brewery also will have a commercial kitchen, dining area and a open-air patio for the summer months. Smith said they are partnering with local breweries and restaurants.

Construction is expected to begin spring 2018 and be completed sometime in 2019.

“It’s a way of building more community on the lower east side with residents and visitors,” Smith said.

The Packard Automotive Plant on Detroit’s east side was built in 1903 by famed architect Albert Kahn. The brewery will operate in one of the 10 buildings on the site.

By 1954 the structure had become obsolete and Packard car production had ceased at the site. The company went out of business a few years later. Detroit took over the complex in 1994 when an investor failed to pay taxes. Another company later took ownership but also lost the property due to unpaid taxes.

Peruvian developer Fernando Palazuelo bought the complex for $405,000 at a tax foreclosure auction in 2013 and broke ground on a 3.5 million-square-foot redevelopment project in May.

Palazuelo vowed to turn the industrial ruin into bright apartments, shops and art galleries.

Packard plant still in ruins 3 years after sale

“1651 East Grand and 1580 East Grand will be renovated simultaneously and are the two first buildings to be converted by Arte Express in the Packard area,” Smith said.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_