If you love Studebakers, you probably also love historic old buildings. Two Studebaker related buildings have been getting a little media attention within the past year, and for very different reasons.

First is Studebaker building 84, which a lot of us had the opportunity to tour during the International in 2017. It’s a huge, fascinating old building with, of course, lots of history behind it.

For those that don’t know Studebaker Assembly Plant Building

Inside Building 84

84 is a huge, 6 story building where most of our Studebakers came to life. Designed by famous architect Albert Kahn and built in 1923 it’s a model of robust early 20th Century factory construction. After years of deterioration it’s undergoing an extensive renovation and will house shops, restaurants, office space, a data center, and even homes.

It’s wonderful what is happening with Building 84.

About 200 miles away another one of Kahn’s buildings is fading away.
The Detroit Packard Plant was every bit as good or even better than Building 84, but when Packard shut down operations there in 1956 the plant was pretty much abandoned.

Sporadic attempts to do something with it have come to naught, and this past January the iconic pedestrian bridge over East Grand Boulevard collapsed.

The plant, or at least part of it may yet be saved. A Peruvian developer

Packard Plant, Photo by Albert Duce

bought the property out of foreclosure in 2013. They had a party last year to celebrate progress in cleaning up the administration building, but progress has been slow, and the property is currently under risk of foreclosure because of an unpaid $302,434 water and sewer bill.

The future of Studebaker Building 84 looks bright and should serve as a model for what can be done with great old buildings.
The future of the Packard plant looks rather gloomy, it deserves so much more than to be allowed to just rot away and be a target for urban explorers, graffiti “artists” and vandals.