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Wayne County ditches Gratiot fail jail site for good

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What will go in its place?

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

We at least know one answer in the saga of the failed Wayne County jail site.

Officials at Wayne County today announced that they are eliminating the Gratiot site for a new jail facility. The county began building a new jail at Gratiot and 375 back in 2011, and stopped construction due to costs in 2013.

Earlier this year, Dan Gilbert and Rock Ventures pitched an idea which would give them the Gratiot site and in turn, they’d build a $520 million criminal justice facility at I-75 and East Warren.

A deal between the county and Rock Ventures is still being worked out. According to a press release by the county, “Negotiations continue, and tentatively include having Rock Ventures pay a previously approved $500,000 to Walsh Construction for submitting a response to the Request for Proposals (RFP) to finish the partially constructed jail”

“The stipend ensured we received a proposal so we could fully evaluate finishing the jail at Gratiot," Wayne County Executive Warren C. 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.”

The city is also involved with the deal. The site at I-75 belongs to DDOT. The land swap would give the Gratiot site to Rock Ventures and the AMC building, which is currently owned by the Wayne County Land Bank, to the city for future redevelopment.

Rock Ventures had initially intended to build a soccer stadium at the Gratiot site, but Ford Field has recently agreed to hose a potential Major League Soccer team. Detroit is currently one of four cities in the running for an expansion team.

But the site could still be used for a variety of office, residential, hotel, and entertainment purposes. After a recent poll, readers agreed a mixed-use development is the best plan going forward. At this point, we’re just excited to finally hear some solid plans for it in the near future.

Fail Jail

Gratiot at St Antoine, Detroit, MI