You know how you prematurely get your hopes up for something and it all just falls to shit in a spectacular way? That's what's going on today with the apparent new ownership of the Packard Plant, which has no problem coughing up typo-ridden press releases but not a down payment.
Maybe as I write this post, Jill Van Horn, the Texas family practitioner who was somehow able to wrangle a team of Wall Street investors to purchase the property for $6 million, will come up with the $2 million down payment she needs to proceed. The deadline is today.
Since the auction ended Friday and we're talking big money here, theoretically the $2 million should have been in hand by now. Van Horn, like Bill Hults before her, has been stalling.
Hults, to his credit, had a half-viable plan to transform the property. Van Horn, through her spokesperson, has released two press releases (here and here) filled with "prophecies" comparing the plant, which hasn't built a car since 1958, to "canoeing and fishing." I shit you not.
The first one, obtained by Crain's, was cause for alarm, but a three-page one released to the Detroit Free Press is just rich. The typos, missing commas and any other grammatical errors in the following paragraphs are real, so don't shoot the messenger.
Consider Mountain Lake we can think about this lake in its immediate physical context and see come primary use for it such as canoeing and fishing.
But when we think about this same lake as an engineer would, by focusing on its capacity to generate energy as an additional value beyond the lakes natural state as a body of water. We suddenly see the potential created by the lakes elevated position. The challenge for the engineer, is the same challenge that all Detroiters face today, finding out how he can create a process that allows him to convert and fix this potential into a form that can be used to do additional work. IN the case of the elevated lake, that process is contained in a hydroelectric plant that allows the lake water to move rapidly downward with the force of gravity. Thereby transforming the placid lakes potential into the kinetic energy of tumbling water. This electric magnets that further convert into electrical energy.
Keep in mind that Van Horn originally announced plans to convert the plant into a modular home and office building facility, so I have no idea why there are even more paragraphs after this one explaining some shit about elevated lakes and gravity. I'm not even going to blockquote them, just click the link. Where the hell is Mountain Lake, anyway?
But I will highlight a few other bizarro statements like:
Bringing them to life requires Detroiters to go beyond looking at the city's asset as they are actively thinking about them as they could be.
We do not know where to find the key process that connects the economic potential of that Detroiters can benefit from.
Although the Japanese, Chinese and our financiers on Wall Street use their mechanisms all the time.
Finally consider the fact that Detroit is in Bankruptcy and so is its sister city Hyland Park.
(Oh, you mean Highland Park? Which is not Detroit's sister city? Which is not in bankruptcy right now?)
But Van Horn is so serious about this that she told the Detroit News she would fly out here to discuss the possibility of buying every single vacant home and apartment building just to show that she's for-realsies about this investment. But after her son's football game.
I have no idea what Wayne County, which is overseeing this auction, is going to do after this. Maybe when it comes to big-ticket items like a 3.5-million-square-foot wasteland that's been relatively dormant for fifty years, a vetting process is in order and a quicker turnaround for proof of funds needs to be in place.
And why do I have a sneaking suspicion that if Van Horn comes through with the money, a reality show is not far behind? Random rich woman from Texas wants to suddenly invest in America's poster child for post-industrial decay, but she also sounds positively nuts? You heard it here first, guys.
[Photo via Getty]
[UPDATE: Big surprise, the sale has been canceled and the county has moved on to talking with other bidders.]