Fernando Palazuelo is the next Detroit media savior in a local media landscape that has too much of a savior complex. I'm still highly skeptical, but Palazuelo says he'll have the Packard Plant up and renovated in the next 15 years. He will start to move some dirt around in September.
Palazuelo granted an "exclusive" interview about his plans to the Detroit Free Press and turned right around and told WXYZ's Carolyn Clifford the same thing, so I don't know why the Freep is on a high horse today. Couldn't Stephen Henderson have done double-duty on this? But anyway, he acknowledges that his past investments nearly bankrupted him and there was some red tape in finally acquiring the property, but he's still ready to go.
At the top of Palazuelo's priorities is not the long-awaited go-kart track, but bringing back a controversial Banksy painting that was in the plant for a time. It was taken from the plant by a group of artists — a big no-no in the street art world — and is now planned for sale. Palazuelo wants it:
"I know this is something important to Detroit, to try and keep the Banksy in Detroit rather than send it to California," Palazuelo said from his Detroit office, which overlooks the Packard Plant from across deserted train tracks just off the property.
Palazuelo also says he wants to employ out-of-work Detroiters, including the ones who scrap his property, and talk to auto-industry suppliers and tech firms like Google about taking up residency there.
So is this all possible? Well, the Packard Plant was built in the 1900s and is still standing. Palazuelo told Clifford that because of the reinforced concrete beams and other still-standing masonry, he'll have to build around it little by little over the years. I'll be waiting.