Evanston, Ill.-based developer Bill Hults is leading a group of investors who want to redevelop the 3.5 million-square-foot former Packard plant. They hope to convert the 110-year-old facility into a commercial, housing and entertainment complex.
Hults said he's been talking for months with Wayne County officials about buying the plant out of foreclosure for its nearly $1 million unpaid tax bill. County Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski confirmed the conversations, but cautions that the property presents many challenges.
"We want to make sure the neglect of this property does not continue," said Szymanski.
A sale could be completed within several weeks and the agreement will require the buyers to secure the building within six months or demolish it, he said.
"If this comes to fruition, it will be a home run," Szymanski said. "I have a difficult time imagining any property that presents the issues that the Packard plant does."
The plant was built in 1903, and the last Packard automobile was built there in the mid-1950s. Other smaller industrial businesses have used the facility since.