Detroit land swap halted by lawsuit; council delays vote

- A multi-billion-dollar land swap deal in Detroit was put on hold by a single homeowner who filed a lawsuit to stop it.

That pact with investor Dan Gilbert would have brought the city a brand new jail, soccer stadium and more. 

The city of Detroit owns property on Warren, just east of I-75.  But Wayne County wants it- and is willing to swap property on Plymouth Road, the site of the old American motors headquarters, for that property.  But we will the Detroit City Council go for it?

"I know you can't please everybody, I know that for sure," said Janee Ayers, councilwoman. "You're trying to please nine of us."

 And pleasing the council is so important because that area on Warren could be the site of the new Wayne county jail.

"You have people that live in this area and I think there's going to be some issues from the jail being there," said Mary Sheffield, councilwoman. "So we have to address those concerns."

Concerns like traffic and security. After all, if the deal goes through and if Wayne County can cut a deal with Dan Gilbert, the end result could be a 2000+ bed, $520 million criminal justice complex.

"I'm not against the overall idea of needing to move this jail and moving forward," Sheffield said.

But Tuesday afternoon the city council voted to put off the vote on the land swap deal until next week.

FOX 2: "Who dropped the ball and kept the city council in the dark?"

"Well, this is a county-led project," Sheffield said. "So a lot of the community engagement aspect of it should have been more on the county."

One resident from the area, Cristinna Morris, said she is against it.

"I don't think a jail should be in our neighborhood," she said. "Especially with the kids and elders. Just that threat in our neighborhood is not a good look."

Potentially complicating matters is while the council debated the land swap, a lawsuit was filed asking a judge to prevent the council from swapping or even selling the east side land for $775,000.  The city has an option.

FOX 2: "Do you want the land on Plymouth Road or do you want the money?"

"I am assuming from my understanding there are some possible developers that may possibly want to develop in that area that could bring jobs," Sheffield said. "I think the overall goal is to get that site up and running to bring jobs."

Resident Fred Ribbon wants the city to develop the west side.

"If they're going to tear this down, they should put some nice townhomes up, some businesses," he said. "Maybe a strip mall - even a Walmart."

There are still a lot of questions and the city council hope to get answers, within a week.
 

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