Texas doctor plans to turn Packard plant into manufacturing plant for modular homes, offices

Posted on October 28, 2013

The suburban Dallas family physician who purchased the abandoned Packard plant on Detroit’s east side Friday plans to renovate the 3.5 million-square-foot plant and turn it into a manufacturing site for modular homes and offices.

Jill Van Horn, who along with investors from Detroit purchased the plant for $6,038,000 at a Wayne County tax auction, has until 4:15 p.m. today to pay the county for the shuttered plant, which sits between Interstate 94 and East Grand Boulevard.

Davis Marshall, a spokesman for Van Horn, said the doctor is meeting with Wayne County officials to finalize the deal and that more detailed plans for the site are expected to be released once it is finalized.

“We are just trying to make sure that the deal is finalized, the moneys are paid and then we’ll move to the next part,” Marshall said. “What you’ll find is that a number of people who are involved with the Van Horn team are from Detroit.”

Marshall declined to name who the other investors are in the Packard plant, which was formerly owned by Bioresource Inc., a Warren-based entity belonging to Dominic Cristini.

According to a news release sent by Marshall, more than 6,000 employees would be needed to staff the plant.

A message left at Van Horn’s office on Monday morning was not returned as of noon.

Wayne County Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski said he spoke to Van Horn and Marshall and said “they indicate sincerity in the offer.” Szymanski added that he was working out the details of the payment requirements but that “for payment of $6 million there will likely be some short extension.”

The plant has long been a target of scrappers, arsonists, graffiti taggers and vandals.

The financial backing for a proposed buyer of the plant fell through in September, sending it to the October tax foreclosure auction.

The plan had been for Chicago investor Bill Hults to have $974,000 in back taxes and fees owed to the county on the property ready to be put into an escrow account as the process to redeem the property was finalized before transferring ownership to Hults. A major investor in the project apparently withdrew his financial support, Crain’s reported in September.

Hults’ LinkedIn profile says he is based in Evanston, Ill., and the founder and managing member of Durkin Joyce LLC, a company described as being involved in the revitalization of blighted neighborhoods and the building of LEED-certified multifamily residences.

Van Horn’s website says she ran a family practice in Redding, Calif., for seven years.