Contractor awaits City Council OK to demolish part of Packard Plant

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — A contractor has been selected for a nearly $1.7 million partial demolition of the long abandoned Packard Plant, but awaits approval from the City Council next week.

The Detroit Demolition Department has selected Michigan contractor Homrich Wrecking Inc., which has locations in Detroit and Carleton.

The project is expected to be funded using federal pandemic resources through the American Rescue Plan Act totaling $1,685,000. 

The former Packard Plant, 1580 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit, Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

Because it is seeking federal funding, the contract requires City Council approval before it can be formally awarded, said Ryan Foster, spokeswoman for the demolition department.

"The council referred it to committee, so hopefully they’ll make a decision this upcoming Tuesday. Pending their decision, the contract will need to move through the city procurement process before we can actually move forward with any work," she said.

If approved by the Detroit City Council on Tuesday, the contract to demolish a portion of the 100,000-square-foot property would be awarded to Homrich Wrecking through Aug. 1, 2023.

Messages were left for Anthony Abela, chief financial officer of Homrich, and Packard Plant developer Fernando Palazuelo seeking additional information.

In 2017, Palazuelo broke ground on a plan to redevelop the Packard plant into a mixed-use site as part of a project that would cost $350 million and take up to 15 years to complete. The project never materialized.

In May, the demolition department completed a scope of work for the buildings Palazuelo owns on the former plant site. The assessment looked at the most unstable and dangerous parts of the buildings north of Grand Boulevard, city officials told The Detroit News.

In March, Wayne County Circuit Judge Brian Sullivan ordered that Palazuelo, a Peruvian developer, to immediately raze the site and foot the bill after his attorney missed a March 24 trial date. The city seeks demolition because it considers the property a “public nuisance.”

In the default judgment, Sullivan said structures on the two 2-acre sites on Detroit's east side have become “dangerous” and significantly threaten “the public's health, safety and welfare.” He held Palazuelo “personally liable for the abatement of the public nuisance.”

Following the ruling, Palazuelo missed the court-ordered deadline April 21 to apply for a demolition permit with the Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department. 

Sullivan empowered the city of Detroit to enter the two properties and perform demolition and “other necessary actions to abate the nuisance.” Palazuelo would be expected to reimburse the city for the demolition costs.

During his State of the City address in March, Mayor Mike Duggan vowed the Packard Plant would be redeveloped while saving the front portion of the city-owned building along the south side of Grand for redevelopment.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_