In the early 1900's, the Dequindre Cut rail line along the east side of Detroit spurred the growth of an industrial corridor alongside the Eastern Market outside of downtown Detroit. In 1937 Allen Industries, a manufacturer of carpet pads and cushions, built a new facility on the corner of Orleans and Wilkins Street.
At some point, probably in the mid 1960's, the plant was bought by Frederick Packing, a meat processing company. The south part of the facility was converted into a multi-story cooler in 1965, and additional warehouse space built in 1972. Frederick Packing went through several name changes before settling on Thorn Apple Valley in 1984. In 1986, Thorn Apple Valley closed the Eastern Market plant and put it up for sale. The company went bankrupt in 1999 and was sold to IBP.
While the Eastern Market has undergone a significant revitalization in recent years, the Thorn Apple Valley plant has deteriorated, gutted by scrappers and fire. Through 2008 and 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency cleaned up the site, removing PCB's, drums of chemicals, and fuel oil. As recently as 2010, the facility was for sale with an asking price of $800,000, but has yet to find a taker.
There has been recent activity at the site, including the removal of debris from the main part of the plant, but no re-development plans have been announced.