Packard Plant owner pays delinquent taxes, readies for cleanup

Packard plant. All photos by Steve Neavling

For the first time in decades, someone is paying property taxes on the abandoned Packard Plant.

Peru-based developer Fernando Palazuelo, who bought the sprawling ruins in December for $405,000, made good on his delinquent tax bill this week after clearing up a dispute over the amount due.

Now Palazuelo is pulling city permits to begin removing dangerous debris from the Packard’s former administration building, which was heavily damaged by scrappers who brazenly removed an entire floor last year.


Once the work is complete, Palazuelo plans to restore the iconic brick bridge over East Grand Boulevard. The bridge, which was used to transport the shells of automobiles to the engine area, has been heavily vandalized.

“Our first line of business is taking care of the dangerous debris on both sides of the administration building,” project manager Kari Smith said. “We are going to remove all of the debris.”

Palazuelo, who has led similar renovation projects in Peru , is seeking tenants for a mixed-use development across 35 acres of industrial buildings designed by famed architect Albert Kahn. The plan is to create space for lofts, offices, entertainment, restaurants and retailers.

The administration building was ravaged by scrappers.

This fall, Palazuelo plans to host the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on the edge of the Packard Plant. By next summer, Palazuelo hopes to host the DSO for a public concert inside the Packard.

Palazuelo purchased the Packard Plant in the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction.

Anyone interested in leasing space at the Packard Plant is asked to email Smith at

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.

  • Gunnut2600

    I hope he hires 24/7 security. There any nothing worse that get a place about 90% rehabbed only to have a bunch of fucking crappers destroy it so they can get pennies for the thousands of dollars worth of damagr and theft they do. The business I worked for went under because of scrappers hit a couple of our properties at once and we couldn’t make up the losses. I wish you could shot scrappers on sight.

    • Oberyn_Martell

      Scrappers and the scrap yards. Shoot em all.

  • Sean

    I really hope he goes through with the indoor kart track!

  • Billy Blake

    I wish I could work out a deal with my property taxes.

    • bebow

      You can, Billy. It’s not hard. Appeal your property taxes, and take the matter through to the very receptive Michigan Tax Tribunal. No attorney required. Follow the directions. Get an appraisal and state your case. City representatives are clownish and unprepared, but they do sport some amazing attitude to complement their incompetence and corruption.

      • Billy Blake

        Thanks I think I’ll do it.

        • bebow

          Watch out for slick moves city tricksters will attempt to abort your appeal early in the process. Be vigilant.

  • Brent

    Tall order. Good luck to him. If this works, he’ll be a legend.