Pure Detroit offers tours of the Packard Plant

Starting next week, ticket holders can explore facilities of the Packard Plant on a tour about the past and learn about future developments.

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Starting next week, curious tourists can walk the Packard Plant and revisit history and gawk at art and the architecture. 

Pure Detroit has partnered up with Arte Express, the owner of the plant, to host $40 tours of what some have called one of Detroit's most prominent example of industrial ruins at 1580 E. Grand Blvd. in Detroit.  

The guided 90-minute trek will start Aug. 12 and will continue every Saturday through winter. It consists of a 1-2 mile walk through the facility, looking at graffiti and the faded architecture among the ruins of 43 broken buildings and 45 acres. Up to 30 people can pick from two times each Saturday. Tickets can be bought online

Dan Brennan, Pure Detroit's director of operations, said despite the rubble, tourists won't be in danger. 

“One of the greatest things about the building is how it was completely overbuilt ... it’s not going anywhere,” Brennan said. “The whole idea is continuing the spirit that Pure Detroit was founded on, which is bringing attention to areas that are architecturally significant, and breathing life back into them."

Albert Kahn Associates designed the plant, built as a 5-million-square-foot manufacturing facility for Packard automobiles in 1903.

The plant later was reduced to 3.5-million-square-feet during the construction of Interstate 94. It later became emblematic of a decayed urban landscape

"Everyone comes for a different reason, whether their grandparents worked there...those that want to see the center for arsenal democracy...those urban exploring or to see amazing artwork with all the graffiti. There are also people who are interested in where this going, whats the impact on the local neighborhood," Brennan said. 

The tour is not wheelchair accessible.  Tour participants must be at least 18 years old and sign a waiver. 

Developer Fernando Palazuelo has promised a $500 million investment in the property.

He has said the site will feature a mixed-use development with office and commercial space, restaurants and a gallery/event space. The first phase is expected to cost $23 million and take two years. The rebuild will be done in four phases, he has said.


Twitter: @SarahRahal_