Detroit Packard Plant owner misses deadline to file demolition permits

City now deciding how to rid of deteriorating structure

A critical deadline was missed Thursday (April 21) to demolish the eyesore known as the Packard Plant. Owner Fernando Palazuelo had until today to pull permits for demolition of his portions of the plant as ordered by a judge claiming the location is a public nuisance.

DETROIT – A critical deadline was missed Thursday in the court-determined process to demolish the Packard Plant in Detroit, which has become an eyesore.

Property owner Fernando Palazuelo had until Thursday, April 21, to pull permits for the demolition of his portions of the plant. Earlier this month, a judge ordered Palazuelo to demolish the plant, claiming the deteriorating property has become a public nuisance.

Local 4 News has talked to people who live or grew up in the neighborhood, and they all seem to agree that despite its history, the old Packard Auto Plant and its putrid condition isn’t benefiting anyone.

“Well, his time is up,” Tawanda Posey said.

Posey and her sister, Gwendolyn Crittenden, grew up on Van Dyke Avenue near Harper Avenue. The sisters were interested in seeing what the plant could be when Palazuelo, a developer from Peru, purchased the property in 2013 with plans to make it a mixed-use space.

“I had my fingers crossed, but I was also a little bit pessimistic about it,” Robin Scovill said.

But now, nearly 10 years later, the building looks more like a ruin than a storied factory.

“It’s collapsing,” Scovill said. “It is coming down.”

Under the judge’s order, Palazuelo had until Thursday to apply for a demolition permit with the city to take the structure down. A city spokesman says the developer missed his court-ordered deadline to do so.

More: Judge orders owner to demolish Packard auto plant in Detroit, calling it a ‘public nuisance’

Now, the city is considering its next steps, which could include demolishing the plant itself and billing Palazuelo. Crittenden says she would love to see that happen.

“Just for it to be the way it is now, I think it needs to be torn down,” Crittenden said.

Residents worry about school children getting hurt throughout the day, or when people have to park near the site at night to visit other neighborhood establishments.

“We park over here and have to walk to the bar,” Crittenden said. “It’s scary.”

Scovill has his own fond memories of the plant.

“My son and I started shooting a sci-fi movie action film here a few years ago,” Scovill said. “I’ll miss this factory. I wish it could stay, could be developed, but it just doesn’t seem very realistic.”

Local 4 reached out to an attorney that is representing Palazuelo, but they did not immediately respond.

About the Authors:

Pamela Osborne is thrilled to be back home at the station she grew up watching! You can watch her on Local 4 News Sundays and weeknights. Pamela joined the WDIV News Team in February 2022, after working at stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.