County leaning toward continuing jail project in Detroit instead of new complex

- Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans gave an update Monday morning on the Rock Ventures proposal at the site of the county's failed jail project.

Evans said press conference at this point it appears they are leaning toward continuing to build on the jailed project and possibly skipping out on the Dan Gilbert project.

They do plan to continue to vet the proposal and take a closer look at it. They plan to have this finished by no later than May.

Evans wants county commissioners to approve contracts for firms to look into the proposal and he wants to approve up to $500,000 for Walsh Construction.

They were only contractor that responded to the county's request for proposal to build the jail.

"If approved will only be paid if the Walsh proposal is not accepted by the county," Evans said.

Rock Ventures LLC has made an offer to Wayne County to build a new criminal justice center and court house in exchange for the failed jail project's site on Gratiot Avenue.

The new complex will be an adult detention center, juvenile detention center and criminal courthouse, while the developer would propose a $1 billion mixed-use commercial project at the Gratiot site instead. That structure could then be used to house the proposed MLS Soccer expansion team which Rock founder Dan Gilbert and Pistons owner Tom Gores have submitted paperwork for.

Rock Ventures offers to build Wayne County new justice center for failed jail site

The proposed site of the new criminal justice complex is located at East Forest Avenue, east of I-75, approximately 1.5 miles north of the Gratiot Avenue Site.

The projected cost of completing the jail is pegged at $250 million -- the county has already spent $150 million on the mess -- and another $50 million is needed to upgrade the Murphy building.

Evans says he wonders if the $420 million Gilbert is proposing will be enough money to fund the proposal, and what would happen to the $200 million in jail bonds if the county moves the jail. They would like to resolve the tax issues and the uncertainty relating to the use of money from jail bonds if they built on the new Rock Ventures site.

The Chair of the Wayne County Commission says he also has concerns.

"I'd like to see the deep details, which aren't included in the proposal. Are they going to build an X number of courtrooms? How big will those courtrooms be?" Gary Woronchak said.

In a statement Rock Ventures told Fox 2:

"We respect the County's process and look forward to working side-by-side with the County Executive and the County Commission. We have worked hard to develop and deliver to the County a proposal that, we believe, will be the best long-term outcome for the County and for the future of downtown Detroit."

Only time will tell what Wayne County will decide.

You can watch the whole press conference here on Fox 2 News Now:

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