Hope shines as developer begins work to give life to old Packard Plant

DETROIT (WXYZ) - "I've been waiting," says 91-year-old Skip Gibson about his hope and anticipation to see the the old Packard Plant on Detroit's east side become something new.

Gibson, who once worked in the administrative office for the old car maker, revisited his former job site Tuesday, but this time, it was to hear good news from Fernando Palazuelo, a developer from Peru who bought most of the old plant's 3.5 million square feet.

Palazuelo plans to save what's left of the plant and convert the property into office, commercial, residential, and restaurant space.

And the first of four phases began Tuesday with abatement and remediation of the old car factory's administration office - 121,000 square feet that will be turned into leased office spaces.

Phase one carries an estimated cost of $16 million. It is expected to create 150 construction jobs and be completed in 2018.

Phase two will involve restoring another building on the old plant's property and turning it into a restaurant that is already leased even before work has begun.

Completion of all four phases is estimated to take 7 to 10 years.

"I would like to see it in use, and it looks like it's going to happen," says Gibson.

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