Bidder must pay $1.8 million today to buy Packard Plant

Packard_1665Will the abandoned Packard Plant finally have a new owner after decades of neglect?

We may know soon.

Chicago-area investor Bill Hults has until 4:30 p.m. today to hand over $1.8 million to the Wayne County treasurer to buy the 3.5-million-acre site. He’s already paid $200,000 in nonrefundable deposits, but he’s missed several deadlines in the past.Hults, who also purchased 17 houses and buildings near the Packard, was the second-highest bidder for the 40-acre site in the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction that ended in October. He was given the opportunity to buy the Packard after the initial winner, a Texas physician, failed to make good on her $6 million bid.  Hults missed the original deadline last week but was given an extension.

If the Wayne County treasurer enforces the deadline and invalidates Hults’s bids, the third-highest bidder would have the opportunity to buy the sprawling concrete wasteland for $400,000. That bidder is Peru-based developer Fernando Palazuelo, who has worked on similar projects and is enthralled by the enormity of the industrial ruins.

Hults and Palazuelo both want to convert the sprawling auto factory into a mixed-use complex for businesses, housing and entertainment.

Hults had an opportunity to buy the plant for $1 million in September but he walked away.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.