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The hulk of an unfinished jail looms over Gratiot. Photo: Nick Hagen
The hulk of an unfinished jail looms over Gratiot in 2014. Daily Detroit Archive Photo: Nick Hagen

Wayne County has announced that they will not complete the unfinished jail at Gratiot near Ford Field.

According to a press release, Rock Venture and Wayne County has moved closer to a deal to build a brand new criminal justice center on the site of what is now a DDOT bus terminal at Warren and I-75 near Midtown.

Currently, the plan is that Rock Ventures will pay a $500,000 stipend to compensate Walsh Construction for submitting a response to the Request for Proposals (RFP) to finish the partially constructed jail. They were the lone bidder for the RFP process.

“The stipend ensured we received a proposal so we could fully evaluate finishing the jail at Gratiot,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said. “As we dug into the project with an actual proposal, the more we recognized it had too much inherent risk for the County at too high a price. We’re negotiating a deal with Rock that caps the County’s costs and creates the best solution available to our jail problem.”

Last week, the Detroit City Council approved a deal for the County to acquire the land needed to proceed with the criminal justice center.

Some of the steps ahead, according to the county:

  • The IRS needs to make a decision around the use of jail bonds at a site other than Gratiot, and specifically, Rock Ventures’ proposed site.
  • The land swap deal with the City of Detroit needs approval by the Wayne County Commission and the Wayne County Land Bank. They own the old AMC property on the west side to be transferred to the city of Detroit as part of the deal.
  • The final agreement with Rock Ventures will also require the Wayne County Commission and Wayne County Building Authority’s approval.

Wayne County says that cost comparisons of the two proposals, total number of facilities to be built, and protection against cost overruns were the key reasons for moving forward with the Rock Ventures option rather than completing Gratiot and that they’ve been focusing on Rock Ventures since July.