A few months ago, Peruvian developer Fernando Palazuelo won the dilapidated old Packard Plant in an insaneWayne County tax auction and announced a $300 million development plan (and a possible go-kart track). But the plant's former owner is saying he still owns a piece of it. Sigh.
Back in the '90s, Dominic Crostini purchased the company that owned most of the plant. Aside from not doing a damn thing with it (an always necessary perspective: The complex was abandoned in the 1950s when Packard shuttered and sat near-vacant ever since), Crostini was sentenced to a brief prison sentence for dealing ecstasy at an empty school across the street from the plant.
Now Crostini and his legal adviser, David Wax, says Wayne County botched the foreclosure of the plant and that Crostini's company still owns pieces of the complex, including half of the iconic bridge over East Grand Boulevard. Per the Detroit Free Press, he wants $3.5 million to clear things up:
According to Wax, the county's March 2013 foreclosure failed to clear various liens on many of the 42 parcels that make up the Packard site — including rights that are still controlled by Cristini's company, Bioresource.
For Cristini, this means Palazuelo, who won the Packard parcels for $405,000 in last fall's county Treasurer foreclosure auction, did not actually get the auto plant land free and clear.
Lacking clear title, Palazuelo would likely have difficulty securing financing to make his $300-million to $400-million redevelopment vision for the Packard Plant site a reality.
Palazuelo has called Crostini's actions "blackmail," but acknowledges that at least one parcel in the massive complex is under dubious ownership. That parcel may or may not be owned by the City of Detroit, and Palazuelo is working to purchase that piece of the puzzle.
In short, there may be at least four owners of all of the Packard Plant — Palazuelo, Crostini, Detroit and Wayne County — and this is a massive clusterfuck that can only be solved with money. Lots and lots of money.