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Owner Says Big Plans Ahead For Packard Plant

DETROIT (WWJ) -- The Packard Plant's new Peruvian owner said that he is not an investment shark that is just looking to turn a quick profit.

Fernando Palazuelo said he has recently had several offers for the site -- and he hasn't budged.

"I received (offers) of $4 million -- $4 million and $5 million -- and I rejected it," Palazuelo said. "If I was a shark -- a short-term, money-making speculator -- I would not be here in Detroit."

Palazuelo paid $400,000 for the property and said that he hopes to convert into a mixed use area.  He said he has already put up new signs at the East Side Factory and that in the coming weeks his architects and crews are starting a revitalization of the property.

(Kathryn Larson/WWJ)

Palazuelo said that he has one potential tenant -- Penske.

"Of course they are interested," Palazuelo said. "They told me that Mr. Rodger Penske, especially, has interest in the Packard Plant and to make it work again."

Palazuelo said that Penske has given them a difficult deadline -- one year to move in. Palazuelo also said that he is preparing the ruins for some beautiful music and a performance from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

"A little concert by fall, I think it could happen," Palazuelo said. "I have to recognize that the initiative has been from their part. I will clean up the courtyard there and secure it -- I will do my job and prepare the place. It is mainly in the hands of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra organization."

The dilapidated plant, located along East Grand Boulevard, has not been used for car production since the 1950s. As the years passed, the property increasingly became the target of arsonists, thieves, metal scrappers, urban explorers and graffiti artists.

(Kathryn Larson/WWJ)
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