Wayne County approves jail plan by 14-1 vote

Image 1 of 3

The Wayne County Commission has approved a joint venture to build a $533 million jail center by a vote of 14 to 1.

The county reached a tentative deal with Rock Ventures in March to build the facility on East Warren Ave near the I-75 Service Drive. As part of the deal, the County would invest $380 million with Rock covering the remaining costs and any overruns. 

“I’m proud of all the work and sweat equity that went into this deal. I’m not sure anyone involved will ever work on a more complex set of negotiations,” Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans said. “I can’t say enough about everyone at Wayne County who worked so hard to get the greatest value to address one of our most pressing facilities needs. I’d also like to thank Dan Gilbert, Matt Cullen and the Rock Ventures team for their efforts throughout this process.”

The center is expected to be completed in the spring/summer of 2022, and will house the County's 2,280-bed jail, sheriff and prosecutor staff and administrative offices, criminal courthouse and juvenile detention facility. It will include four state-of-the-art-buildings. 

Under terms of the deal with Rock, Barton Malow will serve as the general contractor while Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc. will serve as the architect. 

Key components of the deal, which now head to the County Commission and Building Authority for approval, include:

  •     Completion is expected in spring/summer of 2022, with Rock responsible for estimated costs of about $153 million, as well as any cost overruns;
  •     If the actual cost of the criminal justice center is less than the budgeted amount, the County and Rock will share the savings based upon an agreed to schedule;
  •     Rock will operate and collect net parking revenues capped at $30 million present value for various parking sites around the criminal justice center, after which the County will take over operation and collection of parking revenues. The County, however, retains complete control of 119 secured parking spaces for County use at no cost;
  •     Rock has agreed to invest at least $250 million into a mixed-used development on the properties it acquires from the County, while utilizing at least 51% of Wayne County residents in the jobs required for development of the properties; and
  •     Rock agrees to perform outreach to County-based businesses for their participation.
  •     Rock will contribute $500,000 to parks located in Wayne County and $250,000 to support career and technical education programs for previously incarcerated citizens. 

In exchange, the County will transfer to Rock, the existing Division I and II jails, juvenile detention facility and Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. Upon approval and execution of the deal, these parcels will be leased back to the County for $1.00 per year until the criminal justice center is complete and the County has transitioned to the use of the new facilities. Rock will also, in a separate transaction, purchase, the property where the unfinished Gratiot jail is located.

The County will pay its portion of the construction costs with remaining bond proceeds from the Gratiot failed jail project, new bonds specific to the current project and some general fund revenue. Based upon discussions with the Internal Revenue Service, Wayne County's bond counsel has advised the administration that the transactions, as structured, will satisfy applicable federal tax requirements.