The Packard plant, which once symbolized the might of America's auto industry, is at risk of heading to auction if a pending development deal fails. If that happens, The Detroit Free Press reports, the 35-acre site eventually could be sold "for as little as $21,000," a figure that comes from Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski.
As The Detroit News reports, Szymanski hopes to finalize a transaction next week with Illinois-based developer William Hults, who wants to turn the site into a mixed-use structure, with commercial and residential sections.
But Hults "acknowledges there are many hurdles to cross," the Free Press reports. "He has yet to secure project financing, forge development partnerships or meet with Detroit's development chief, George Jackson, who could provide assistance. And he has never completed a project of this magnitude."
If a deal isn't reached by Sept. 15, the Packard site would then go to an initial auction — at which it might not sell, because the minimum bids would be around $1 million, reflecting back taxes and interest owed on the property.
The next step would be for the property's 42 parcels to go up for auction individually in October, with a minimum bid of $500 each — a scenario that yields Szymanski's $21,000 figure.
The 110-year-old Packard complex has been deteriorating for years, and parts of it were demolished in the 1950s.
A video feature by the Free Press looks at the role the Packard plant plays in today's Detroit, where it attracts people interesting in painting graffiti and salvaging metal. Under the terms of the potential sale, Hults would have six months to either secure the site or demolish the plant.