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Wayne County and City of Detroit swap land to move forward with jail plan

Oct 5, 2017

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Credit Wayne County

Wayne County and the city of Detroit announced a tentative land swap deal Thursday, which brings the Dan Gilbert-owned Rock Ventures one step closer to building a new jail on the land.

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans and Mayor Mike Duggan said in a press release that the move will benefit the city and the county alike. Duggan called it “a win-win.”

According to the press release, “under the agreement, the County would acquire part of the DDOT property bounded by the I-75 Service Drive and E. Warren Ave. In exchange, the City would acquire the former American Motors Corp. (AMC) headquarters on Detroit’s Westside, which is currently owned by the Land Bank.”

Gilbert has offered $520.3 million to build a new criminal justice complex, which would be built on 11 of the DDOT parcel’s 22-acres.

More from the press release:

The complex will include a 2,280 bed jail, criminal courthouse, prosecutor offices, sheriff administrative offices and a juvenile detention facility. Rock Ventures’ proposal approximated the cost of this complex at $520.3 million asking the County to pay $380 million of this amount.

The Rock Ventures proposal would replace a long-delayed, still unfinished jail building project on Gratiot. Gilbert and Pistons executive Arn Tellen have also proposed investing $1 billion to build a soccer stadium on that property.

In order to finalize the deal, a purchase agreement will be signed by both parties, and approval is required from the Detroit City Council, the Wayne County Commission and the Wayne County Land Bank Board.