Fernando Palazuelo Appears To Be Lead Actor In The Packard Plant Soap Opera. A Soap Opera That Will Cost Wayne County Taxpayers $1.8 Milion
Wayne County Treasurer’s incompetent handling of the tax auction of the 40 acre abandoned Packard Plant is an example of Wayne County incompetent leadership. Peruvian Developer Fernando Palazuelo, will be the new owner for less than 25% of what he offered to buy it for.
Palazuelo bid $2.2 million for the property. He was the third place finisher in the bidding.
Dr. Jill Van Horn was the first place bidder. However, she could not come up with the $6 million winning bid. Second place finisher, Bill Hults, could not deliver the remaining balance of $1.8 million of his bid by 4:30 today. He had given the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office a non-refundable $200,000 deposit to extend his deadline until today.
County Treasurer Wojtowicz and his deputy David Szymanski lowered his second place bid by over 65% after Hults got into a bidding war with Van Horn.
Ironically, Hults had the opportunity to buy the Packard site from Wayne County prior to the county’s annual tax auction. The county offered to sell it to him this past summer for $1 million. However, he was unable to come up with the cash.
Fernando Palazuelo! C’mon Down! You’re The Next Contestant On “Who Wants The World’s Largest Industrial Ruin?”
Fernando Palazuelo of Lima, Peru will now be given the opportunity to buy the property for $405,000. This is after the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office allowed him to reduce his bid from $2.2 million to $405,000.
This is a far cry from what Szymanski told the Detroit Free Press on October 26th. He said after the auction concluded, “So we anticipate we will have somebody perform at around $2 million, in a worst-case scenario,”
The big question is can Palazuelo pay the estimated $20 million in demolition costs for the rest of the buildings. Then clear the debris and clean 110 years of toxic contaminants from the land?
The Michigan DEQ’s report from 1999 states there are piles 6-18 inches deep of Asbestos in the tunnels under the plant.
MEDC SVP Mark Morante told the Detroit Free Press last year that there is a demand from international companies for shovel ready industrial sites. However, the Packard site is full of challenges:
The cost of putting it back in use is so high — basically, it’s economically unfeasible. But they need new factories to be operational within 15 months. They cannot go to the Packard site and meet that deadline. It is a difficult issue, particularly when we’re trying to assist Detroit, Saginaw, Flint, Pontiac to reinvent themselves. There is a need for up-front money to get those kinds of things done.
We shall see if he can make it happen. Palazuelo is the most experienced developer. He also has extensive experience redeveloping properties while dealing with corrupt governments.