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Wayne County looking into Dan Gilbert's jail site proposal

Feb 13, 2017

Plans for Wayne County's unfinished jail site in Detroit could get scrapped if the county accepts a proposal from billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert.

The county is considering Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures' offer to build a jail at a new location in Detroit. In exchange, Gilbert would get the current jail site.

He and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores hope to put a Major League Soccer stadium there.

The county is still vetting the proposal, looking at how much building a jail to fit the county’s needs costs, the location of the potential new jail, and what accepting this proposal would mean for money already spent on the unfinished site.

Warren C. Evans, the Wayne County Executive, says this decision will affect the county for the next 50 years.

“It will continue to cost Wayne County taxpayers for decades. Getting this right for them trumps any other concerns I have,” Evans said.

Evans believes that building at the current jail site is the best option financially.

“I think finishing the Gratiot jail on the existing site is the most cost effective option for us. I've yet to be persuaded otherwise,” he said.

Construction of the unfinished jail was halted in 2013 due to cost overruns, but it has already cost the taxpayers in the county $151 million.