The Detroit News reports that the Packard Plant site is going to be auctioned off by Wayne County as a potential investor scrambles to secure funding for his wide-scale idea to redevelop the ruins.
You might remember that Illinois investor Bill Hults announced his intent to purchase the site and transform the 3.5-million-complex (or what's left of it) into housing, business and retail over the next 15 years.
The plan sounded solid, solid enough that Wayne County officials frequently spoke to the media about their optimism that the always-on-fire symbol of the decline of American manufacturing was finally going to fall into the right hands.
But as long as no one person owned the Packard Plant, it was still subject to the county's foreclosure auction. A potential buyer would have to pay $1 million in back taxes just to clear the way for purchase. The deadline was last week.
The News reports that Hults, who has unpaid debts of more than $200,000 in Chicago, missed the deadline because he was unable to secure the funds to pay the back taxes.
According to Wayne County: “He indicates he has been working with a backup group of investors who are seeking to verify that they have the funds necessary to proceed. As of this time we have no verification of funds and the property continues to be available through the auction.”
Yeesh. That doesn't sound too promising at all. Good luck trying to raise a million bucks for a chemical wasteland. Perhaps a Kickstarter is in order.
But in case you're interested in the property, there's a chance, maybe two, to snag it. You'd have to come up with the $1 million for the auction's first round ending Sept. 26. If you can't swing that, the price of the site drops down to a very cheap $21,000 opening bid for the second round.