Land swap deal to build new criminal justice center moves forward

Posted at 5:48 AM, Apr 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-05 15:22:02-04

The Wayne County Commission approved a land swap proposal with Detroit that involves the county, the city and Rock Ventures Owner Dan Gilbert.

The commission voted 11-2 Thursday to accept 11 acres of the Detroit Department of Transportation property near I-75 in Warren and in exchange, the county will give the site of the former American Motor Corporation headquarters on the city's west side to Rock Ventures. That land will be used to build a new Wayne County Jail project in downtown Detroit.

The vote came a month after the county and Gilbert agreed to build a new $533 million criminal justice center in Detroit.

As part of the agreement, the county will invest $380 million in the project while Rock Ventures will be responsible for $153 million and the cost of any overruns.

According to the news release, the county will pay for its portion of the project with remaining bond proceeds from the failed Gratiot jail project, new bonds for the current project as well as revenue from the general fund

“We made the best of a tough situation and have a definitive path forward to address the failed jail project. It’s been an albatross for the County for far too long,” Evans said in a release. “At the end of the project we will have an entirely new criminal justice complex, and most importantly, the County’s construction costs are capped."

The criminal justice center will house the county's 2,280-bed jail, sheriff and prosecutor staff administrative offices, criminal courthouse and detention facility.

As part of the deal, Rock Ventures will operate and collect parking revenues from sites around the new criminal justice center, capped at $30 million after which the county will take over operation.

Part of the deal also includes Rock Ventures acquiring land for mixed-use development, which they must invest at least $250 million into the properties it acquires from the county and utilize at least 51 percent of Wayne County residents. It's expected Gilbert, along with Tom Gores and the Ford family, will build a potential Major League Soccer Stadium on the site the division I and division II jails, juvenile detention facility and Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.