Wayne County Officials Considering Multiple Bids for Detroit Jail Site
DETROIT, MI Wayne County, Michigan, officials are evaluating two proposals that will either deliver a jail or a soccer stadium to a 13-acre site in downtown Detroit, Michigan.
A Walsh Construction proposal with two options ranging from $269 million and $317.6 million would see an existing, stalled county jail project completed. However, a competing plan from Quicken Loans founder and chairperson Dan Gilbert and his development company Rock Ventures proposed building a $1 billion Major League Soccer stadium and mixed-use development on the site. In exchange for the stadium, Gilbert also proposed developing a new $520.3 million criminal justice center on a different piece of city property.
The county stopped the jail's construction in 2013 after project officials determined it was on its way to $90 million in cost overruns. Gilbert, who has developments in other areas of Detroit, has made the city multiple offers for the property since then.
The Rock Ventures proposal mirrors some parts of a proposal Gilbert submitted earlier this year, though the latest version has designated a new site across from the new criminal justice complex and a city investment of $380 million, compared to the initial $300 million maximum contribution.
After receiving Gilbert's initial offer, the county stopped Walsh's construction activity at the jail so the contractor could study billionaire's plan and come up with a competing proposal. Walsh was the only company to submit a bid for completion of the existing jail in December 2016 when the city decided to take proposals for the restart of construction.
Detroit is experiencing a construction boom and revitalization of the area that is drawing young professionals and artists to the downtown area. The Ilitch family, founders of Little Caesars Pizza and owners of the Detroit Red Wings, is one arm of the city's downtown boom. The family's new hockey arena is under construction there at the heart of a massive $1 billion-plus District Detroit redevelopment project that includes residential and commercial projects transforming 50 blocks of the downtown region.
Gilbert, too, is already giving a boost to Detroit's downtown revival. In March, the billionaire won approval to build a 1.2 million-square-foot, $700 million mixed-use tower on the site of Detroit's iconic Hudson's department store. Construction should begin at the end of this year, and, according to Dezeen, it could be the city's tallest building when complete.