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Prospective Packard Plant Buyer Plans To Live At Site

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(WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

(WWJ Photo/Mike Campbell)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A prospective buyer of a sprawling former car plant that for years has been a symbol of Detroit’s decline says he plans to live at the site as he redevelops the property.

Developer Fernando Palazuelo, who plans to close the deal for the Packard complex within weeks, told the Detroit Free Press he will build an apartment for himself and has a roughly $350 million plan to use the site for residential, retail, offices, light industry, recreation and art.

PHOTOS: A PEEK INSIDE THE PACKARD PLANT

Palazuelo said the project could take 10 to 15 years or longer.

“If I am successful and suppliers for the Big Three move into the Packard Plant, it could be a revolution for the east side,” he said.

A leasing office in the complex’s well-known bridge across East Grand Boulevard and an upscale go-kart racing track are among Palazuelo’s ideas.

Palazuelo bid for the 40-acre property this year during a Wayne County tax foreclosure auction. After paying 10 percent on his $405,000 bid, he has until Dec. 18 to pay the remaining balance.

The dilapidated plant was built in 1903 and hasn’t 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.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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