DETROIT (WXYZ) — About the only attention given to the dilapidated site of the old Packard Plant was from those looking to explore and photograph Detroit's "ruin porn" but then came a charismatic businessman from Lima, Peru who promised to develop the site into offices, restaurants, and exciting city living.
Fernando Palazuelo had purchased many of the parcels that comprise the old Packard Plant from Wayne County after a foreclosure.
At a groundbreaking for its exciting new future, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said, "Miracles do happen."
But to the City of Detroit, in 2021, it seemed all Palazuelo and his company Arte Express were building was a stack of unpaid blight violations and unpaid sewer fees, totaling nearly a million dollars.
"He never delivered on anything," City of Detroit attorney Charles Raimi said about Palazuelo Wednesday. "He just left this horrible, blighted, dangerous property sitting in the middle of the city for years."
The City filed a lawsuit against Palazuelo in 2021 and last week, Wayne Judge Brian Sullivan sided with the city in a default judgment after Palazuelo was a no-show to trial.
One of the attorneys on record to represent Palazuelo said, as of last month, they no longer represent him.
Sullivan's order demands that Palazuelo demolish the blighted buildings on his properties in the next few months or the city could and give him the bill for it.
But time is already running out for Palazuelo to meet the deadline to pull permits for the demolition that could cost about $10M.
A spokesperson for the Wayne County Treasurer said they recently foreclosed on 33 of Palazuelo's properties at the Packard site. We're told he did manage to pay the back taxes to reclaim another 10 parcels including the major structure of the Packard Plant that sits on the north side of East Grand Boulevard.
"He's still trying to figure out some way to exit town with some money in his pocket," said Raimi.
7 Action News has been unable to reach Palazuelo.