Does Texas Doc have $6M for Packard? Lots of red flags

Jill Van HornHold the wrecking ball.

The Texas physician who won the abandoned Packard Plant in Detroit with a $6 million bid in a tax-foreclosure auction Friday is raising serious concerns among city and county leaders, especially after she released a rambling, grammar-challenged statement Tuesday about her “prophecy (to) resurrect Detroit.”

The plan sounds crazy enough – convert the crumbling concrete ruins of the Packard Plant into a site to manufacture modular homes. The price for demolition and environmental remediation ranges from million to million, depending on whom you ask.
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But that apparently is just the beginning, according to a three-page statement by Dr. Jill Van Horn and other unnamed investors.

They’re even willing to prove doubters wrong with a plan “to travel from Texas to Detroit and sit down with the county and make an offer for every vacant, abandoned and dilapidated apartment building within Detroit.”

It’s an unusual offer for several reasons: The city has roughly 5,000 abandoned apartment buildings, most of which have been extensively damaged by fires or scrappers. And the buildings are vacant because the housing demand is low as the city continues to lose its population.

Still, county officials expressed cautious optimism, saying they’ve talked with Van Horn and others involved and hope to get a $2 million down payment by today.

Van Horn has no known developing experience and has yet to identify investors or prove she has the money.

According to the statement, which reads, “Posential Energy in Detroits Assets,” “Detroiters do not realize that none of the essential capital generating functions is being utilized in their area.”

The statement also includes a rambling metaphor about energy and incorrectly says neighboring “Hyland Park” is in bankruptcy.

“Now is not the time for native Detroiters to bicker over the price of the Packard Plant,” the statement reads. “Now is the time to form a coalition made of past and future developers in order to make a change in Detroit.”

We couldn’t reach Van Horn for comment.

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.

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