Detroit plans to sue Packard Plant owner as demolition begins

In two years, the Packard Plant will be gone.

"The abandoned Packard has been a source of national embarrassment for Detroit for many years. It's been a source of personal pain for the people here," Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Thursday as the demolition began.

Duggan said there has been a decade of broken promises from owner Fernando Palazuelo, who was supposed to fix up the abandoned complex.

"We are going to sue the former owner. I know he's hiding in Peru right now, and we are going to go after every asset in America," Duggan said.

A judge ordered in April that Palazuelo needed to start obtaining permits and begin the demolition process. He did not do that.

The demolition project is being paid for by a state grant specifically for city restoration. The rest of the cost is backfilled with money from the federal American Rescue Plan

The demolition has been long awaited by people nearby.

"Detroiters like Miss Moxley and Miss Berry who live nearby should not have to endure this type of nuisance each day to go pick up the mail or say hello to a neighbor," said LaJuan Counts, the Detroit Demolition Department director.

Duggan said that when the building is leveled in a few years, a new industry can take over.

"My dream is that the buildings facing Grand Boulevard is saved," he said. "We are going to see the day when a new employer builds something here and starts hiring."

He said priority would be given to suppliers of General Motors, whose plant is near Packard.