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County cancels $6M top bid for empty Packard plant

October 30, 2013 • Business


Shoes and other discarded items are on a table in a rubble filled building at the Packard Plant, an abandoned factory complex on Detroit’s east side. Wayne County announced Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, it has canceled a Texas doctor’s $6 million top bid for a sprawling former Detroit car plant and now is talking with other bidders. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Tanya Moutzalias) ALL LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL TV INTERNET OUT

DETROIT (AP) — Wayne County canceled a Texas doctor’s $6 million top bid for a sprawling former Detroit car plant and says the No. 2 bidder has until Thursday to pay up.

Dr. Jill Van Horn submitted the bid for the Packard complex at a tax foreclosure auction last week, saying she wanted to build modular homes and offices at the site.

The county treasurer’s office canceled Van Horn’s bid after the family practice physician from Ennis, Texas, missed a noon Wednesday payment deadline, said David Szymanski, Wayne County deputy treasurer. He said the county turned down her request for a 14-day time extension.

“We’re not comfortable waiting that long,” Szymanski said. “The auction rules called for 24 hours, and we extended her two days beyond that.”

Chicago developer William Hults bid $2.2 million, and the county said he must pay by 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“He indicated that he did not have it at this time, but he hopes to have it tomorrow,” Szymanski said Wednesday.

But Hults told the newspaper he’s ready and able to pay up. He said he wants to turn the building into a mixed-use attraction with residential, commercial and entertainment amenities.

“I’m waiting for the number, and I’m waiting for the date that they want it,” he said.

The No. 3 bid is $2.002 million by Fernando Palazuelo of Peru.

“I am interested,” Palazuelo said Wednesday. “I am holding meetings with the county today and tomorrow.”

Palazuelo, the CEO of Arte Express, has worked to rehabilitate dozens of old structures in his native Spain, as well as in Nepal. He told The Detroit News that he has bought, rehabilitated and leased 1.5 million square feet of dilapidated buildings in downtown Lima, Peru, during the past six years.

“He’s performed well in Peru, and we’d like to see him bring his talents here to Detroit,” Szymanski said.

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