Developer eyes redeveloping Detroit's Packard site

Developers have set their sights on a deteriorating former Detroit car plant that's become better known for malicious destruction and urban decay.
AP Wire
Jul 18, 2013


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.



This sounds like a wonderful idea - the marriage of Detroit, which is soon to declare bankruptcy and is defaulting on its obligations, with a developer who "in recent years has had multiple liens filed against him in the Chicago area stemming from real estate-related disputes, including many during and after the recent recession, which devastated the development industry.

He also acknowledged Wednesday that he is disputing an Internal Revenue Service claim that he owes more than $200,000 in taxes, a figure he says is greatly exaggerated.", officiated by a government functionary who wants to ensure "the neglect of this property does not continue"

I envision the taxpayer taking it in the shorts - with EPA designating the site as Brownfields, the developer getting grants and loans from the government to remediate the site, the money disappearing along with the developer, and eventually a raggedy building going up on the site along with a Jimmy Johns that looks like a public restroom. Probably will include Project Labor Agreements and a Living Wage requirement. Anyone want to bet against me?


Said with the wisdom of experience by a man who knows what he's talking about....


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