detroit jail site

photo: WWJ/Vickie Thomas

Land Swap For New Wayne County Jail Faces Key Vote

April 05, 2018 - 8:01 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - The Wayne County Commission is expected to take up the new proposal for the vacant jail site and criminal justice center. 

A proposed land swap between the city and the county with Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures, which is building the $533 million criminal justice center, won committee approval Tuesday and goes to a full vote on Thursday.  

The city would provide 11 acres of DDOT property at I-75 and Warren in exchange for $775,000 or the old AMC headquarters property on the city's west side. Rock Ventures would build the new center in exchange for the 15-acre failed jail site on the edge of Greektown for future development.

Neighbors around the proposed jail site have expressed concerns over additional traffic and the idea of a jail that close to schools and homes.

The new center -- which includes a jail, sheriff and prosecutor offices, criminal courthouse and juvenile detention facility -- is expected to be completed in the summer of 2022.

The long-expected agreement comes after well over a year of study, evaluation, negotiation, contemplation and debate on the subject.

As part of the agreement, Rock will employ at least 51 percent Wayne County residents in the jobs required to redevelop the county parcels. In addition, the company will contribute $500,000 to county parks and $250,000 to support career and technical education programs for residents.

The county will kick in $380 million to build the new jail complex and Rock will cover any cost overruns.

The unfinished 2,000-bed jail is an eyesore across from the county courthouse in Detroit. Construction stopped in 2013 because the project was wildly over budget, with cost overruns totaling more than $90 million.

The planned new jail will be slightly larger, with 2,200 beds.