County, city reach deal to proceed with Dan Gilbert's jail site plan

- Officials are one step closer Thursday to determining the future of Detroit's jail site project.

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans announced Mayor Mike Duggan and the City of Detroit have ironed out a tentative deal regarding land that is needed to proceed with Dan Gilbert's jail site proposal.

It began with two proposals - Walsh Construction's plan to complete the unfinished jail project at Gratiot and St. Antoine near Greektown and I-375, and Gilbert's plan to construct a new Criminal Justice Center on 13 acres of land the City of Detroit already owns that's bounded by the Chrysler Service Drive, Russell, East Warren Avenue, East Ferry and Frederick.

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In July, Wayne County announced it would be moving forward with Rock Venture's plans after taking a look at the logistics, saying it's likely the proposal to finish the current jail site would cost as much, if not more than constructing a new criminal justice center. Gilbert's company would be responsible for paying any cost overruns in the construction, while Walsh's would leave the county responsible

Wayne County moving forward with Gilbert's jail proposal

Thursday's deal means the county would acquire part of that 13-acre land, and in return, the the county would give the city the former American Motors Corp. headquarters.

"This agreement gets us one step closer to a deal with Rock Ventures. Acquiring this land was one of the significant hurdles to Rock's proposed criminal justice complex," Evans said. "We worked out a tentative deal that makes a lot of sense for the City and County, and we look forward to finalizing the agreement."

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The next step is getting the Detroit City Council, the Wayne County Commission and the Wayne County Land Bank Board to approve the land swap.

"The City is swapping land we don't need to the County to enable the County to build a criminal justice center," Duggan said. "In exchange, the County is swapping a vacant parcel in west Detroit that the City wants to take on as a redevelopment project to improve the neighborhood. This is a win-win."

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Gilbert's proposal includes a jail with 2,280 beds, a juvenile detention facility with 160 beds, 25 courtrooms, five hearing rooms, and offices for the sheriff and prosecutor. The county would pay $380 million of the total $520.3 million cost, but Rock Ventures would be responsible to pay any cost overruns.

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"It brings us a step closer to freeing up this site for whatever development is determined best at the site," said Jim Martinez of Wayne County.

If all goes according to plan, a deal could be done by early 2018 and construction could be finished by 2020.

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