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Taken from the Detroit News:
The purported owner of the Packard Plant says he is days away from starting to barricade and fence off the 3.5-million-square-foot eyesore as a part of his plan to demolish one of the city's most iconic ruins.
Dominic Cristini said Thursday he has hired a demolition firm and plans on applying for permits in the next several days to secure the sprawling, dilapidated plant on East Grand Boulevard near Concord. Cristini, who claims he's the sole owner through his company, Bioresource, said he wants to start the demolition process within a month.
"I am going to demolish the building," Cristini said. "It's unsafe, and it's got to come down. I don't want anybody to get hurt. I am just trying to do the right and responsible thing."
He estimates it will cost $6 million to raze the Albert Kahn-designed plant built by the luxury automaker that went out of business in 1958, adding that recovered scrap metal will offset the cost.
A small crew from AVC Services based in Harrison Township was onsite Thursday, assessing ways to cut it off from the constant stream of scavengers, homeless and artists who have made it a popular underground site for years.
"We are going to see if it is possible to secure it," Antonio Carlomusto of AVC said Thursday.
Cristini said they may try to save portions of the plant for historical value but isn't sure whether that is possible.
Detroit officials said Thursday the plant has already gone through demolition hearings and was ordered down in April 2011.
"We have always been willing to work with the property owners to bring their property into compliance," said Karla Henderson, Mayor Dave Bing's Group Executive of Planning and Facilities. "We support their efforts."
The facility is one of Detroit's most well-known ruins and for nearly 15 years went through an often-bizarre legal battle over ownership between the city and Bioresource. About four years ago, the Michigan Supreme Court put the property back in Bioresource's hands. Records have showed real estate investor Romel Casab as the company president, but Cristini said Thursday he is the only owner.
Cristini, who was released from federal prison in 2010 after serving a four-year drug sentence, said he has been working with city officials to pave the way for the demolition.
The city has a tax lien on the property for at least $300,000. Many of the parcels showed tens of thousands are owed in unpaid property taxes as of earlier this year. Some parcelsare facing foreclosure this fall.
The sprawling plant has been ravaged by time, the elements and scavengers, but it continues to attract admirers.
"In a sick way, it's incredibly beautiful," freelance photographer Casey Carlton said Thursday as she explored the edges of Packard.
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