Downtown Detroit’s New Wayne County Jail To Restart Construction In 2017

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The hulk of an unfinished jail looms over Gratiot. Photo: Nick Hagen

“Fail Jail.” That’s the common term that’s been given to a partially constructed Wayne County Jail on Gratiot Avenue, visible every day if you come into downtown from I-75.

There has been a lot of debate online on whether putting a jail on what many consider to be prime downtown Detroit real estate is a good idea. Billionaires Tom Gores (who owns the Pistons) and Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans) put together a proposal for a soccer stadium on the site, but it’s looking more and more like their shot will be wide of the net and yes, in fact, Wayne County is going to complete a shiny new jail.

A report released today cleared the way for construction to resume, saying the building is structurally sound.

“The report is clear – the jail site is structurally sound. Construction can restart next year,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We are doing our due diligence to make the best possible decision for Wayne County and move this project forward. These results strengthen the case for completing the jail and will be included in the information we provide prospective bidders on the project.”

Per the report:

The findings revealed no structural damage to the steel, concrete and masonry work already completed onsite. The inspection also revealed no issues of cracking or leaking joints with the installed sanitary and storm sewer lines. The report did highlight some cosmetic issues such as discoloration and oxidation of exposed steel or hairline cracking in some concrete surfaces that were normal for concrete work. However, it affirmed the overall structural integrity of the site.

“There’s been no shortage of speculation about this project, but we’re continuing to move forward with the Gratiot site,” Evans said in a statement. “Once we issue the RFP, we’re not looking back. It’ll be full speed ahead on the Gratiot site.”

So get ready to look at a jail on your drive to work for a long, long time.

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