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DETROIT- The 35-acre former Packard Motor Car Co. site, the company idled since 1957 and subsequent tenants deserting almost 10 years ago, is now for sale for $13 million. The site has more than 3.5 million sf of empty industrial buildings, and many are defaced and damaged.

The seller is Bio Resources LLC, an investment group that reportedly includes local foreclosure owner Romel Casab. The group won ownership earlier this year, after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled against the city of Detroit’s bid to take over the property for collection of back taxes. David Wax, senior associate at Burger Easton & Co., says a buyer could reuse the former single-line plant, but would likely look to demolition.

“It’s a major project no matter what happens,” Wax tells GlobeSt.com. “It would take a large coordinated effort, not from a guy who just buys local strip malls. This would have to be a large developer who could go to state and county officials to find available brownfield redevelopment funds. However, the Albert-Kahn designed plant is pretty solid.” The plant, built in 1903, was the first industrial building in Detroit to have reinforced concrete.

The building had been leased by various tenants up until 1997, Wax says. “Then, the tenants were paying about $125,000 per month in rent,” he says. Tenants left when the city tried to take over the site. “The buildings continued to deteriorate with no protection,” Wax says.

He says though Michigan is struggling with lost jobs and leaving companies, the Detroit area industrial market is doing well. “I’ve never been busier than in the past 12 months,” Wax says. “Even if one company moves out of a space, there always seems to be another company wanting to move in.” The city’s industrial vacancy rate is at 14.3%, according to a second quarter report by CB Richard Ellis.

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