ClickOn Detroit: Detroit targets old industry sites to improve neighborhoods
Detroit has aggressively taken on its blight problem since emerging from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history eight years ago, and has razed more than 20,000 abandoned houses in that time. That work is ongoing, but it has been largely covered by federal funding and the city still must figure out how to pay for the much more expensive demolition or find developers to repurpose scores of abandoned or aging apartment buildings, factories and other massive eyesores.
If Mayor Mike Duggan has his way, parts of the 3.5 million-square-foot, 40-acre Packard plant complex will be demolished by year’s end. Other portions will be redeveloped. It’s among 100 large structures the city has identified to be torn down or renovated. “This is emblematic of the industrial challenges we have,” said Antoine Bryant, Detroit’s planning and development director. The easiest solution would be to demolish, he said, but “how can we add to the city instead of just taking away?” Bryant pointed to a $134 million plan to redevelop the six-story former Fisher Body 21 auto plant into more than 400 apartments and retail space.