Report – Packard plant deal just delayed, not dead image

A deal involving the former Packard plant did not close yesterday as planned, but the investor is “1, 000% certain” it will still happen and beat a Sept. 13 deadline.

The deal is between Wayne County and William Hults, an Evanston, Ill.-based developer who wants to buy the abandoned 35-acre complex for the nearly $1 million in back property taxes owed by a previous owner.

“We’ve been talking about putting the country’s largest auto museum in there,” he said.

Hults intends to save as much as he can of the historic but dilapidated industrial structure, and then proceed with his long-range plan for redeveloping the Packard site into housing, restaurants, offices, retail and a hotel, among other possible attractions.

Acquiring the property may well be the easy part. Hults’ estimated price tag for his redevelopment project — $1 billion — would be roughly the same cost for an auto company to build an all-new assembly plant.

Dave Szymanski, deputy Wayne County treasurer, said Hults called earlier in the week to postpone Friday’s scheduled closing. The county is now hoping to get the deal done by Sept. 9, although Hults has until Sept. 13 to save the property from public auction.