Groundbreaking held at old Packard Plant site as rehab project gets underway

DETROIT (WXYZ) - It’s an ode to Detroit’s industrial might of the past, and its blight of the present.

The Packard Plant covers roughly 400 acres, and for decades its decay has been a sore spot for those who live in the area. But soon, things may be changing. 

Lorenzo Lollar grew up in the neighborhood next to the plant. When he was a boy, the plant was being split up into various businesses. Now as an adult he’s seen scrappers, fires and police tape as bodies have been found.

Word that change is coming is exciting, but he’s not buying into it until he sees fruits of the labor.

“After you’ve been promised so many times that something is going to happen, and you don’t see it you get disappointed,” said Lollar, who still lives in one of the homes that his grandpa bought next to the plant during its heyday.

“You have to see consistency of something with it, then we’ll believe it’s going to happen.”

In recent years, changes have been visible, but slow, at the Packard Plant site. Signs have begun to pop up announcing the Packard Plant Project and this morning there was a groundbreaking by the old administration building on East Grand Boulevard.

The four-story building is expected to be the beginning of a four phase project that will rehab sections of the property.

“It’d be a big boost to see something in this neighborhood,” said Lollar — hopeful that change is truly coming.

“That’s good!” said Jasmine Nathan, a neighbor who is raising her children in a home a stone’s throw from the building. “I’d like to see that, and see what else it brings over here instead of this raggedy old building.”

The Packard Plant Project groundbreaking took place at the site of phase I, that’s the old administration building on the 1500 block of East Grand Boulevard. 

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