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Development News

Days before an RFP deadline, Gilbert makes one last play for downtown site of stalled county jail

Rendering of the proposed mixed use development by Rock Ventures

Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures is still attempting to acquire the current Wayne County jail site, this despite County Executive Warren Evans promising to issue an RFP to finish construction of the long-stalled jail this Friday, Feb. 10.

Gilbert and fellow billionaire businessman Tom Gores recently submitted a request for a Major League Soccer franchise in Detroit and want to build the stadium at the current site of construction, which was halted in 2013 due to estimated cost overruns in the tens of millions of dollars. The site is located at the intersection of I-375 and Gratiot Avenue on the eastern edge of downtown.

Announced late Monday, Feb. 6, Rock Ventures has submitted an offer to Wayne County where it will build the county a brand new criminal justice complex at a different location for $300 millionthe current estimated cost of completing the stalled jail site. Rock Ventures would then build a $1 billion mixed-use development on the downtown site, including a soccer stadium and office, commercial, residential, and hotel space.

The criminal justice complex proposed by Rock Ventures would cost an estimated $420 million to complete, though the company would charge the county $300 million for construction. Adult and juvenile detention facilities would be located on the campus, including a new criminal courthouse that would replace the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice downtown.

The Rock Ventures-proposed criminal justice complex would be located one and a half miles north of downtown, at I-75 and E. Forest Avenue.

"We have worked hard to develop and deliver to the County a proposal that, we believe, will be the best long-term outcome for the County and for the future of downtown Detroit," says Matt Cullen, principal of Rock Ventures. "Specifically, we will deliver to the County a modern, consolidated criminal justice center with no risk and at the same dollar amount they estimate it would cost them to complete the project on Gratiot.

"In addition, we are prepared to build a development on the Gratiot Avenue Site, located in the heart of the sports and entertainment district, that will provide significant economic impact and that Detroiters will be proud to have at the 'front door' to the city."

No word yet from Wayne County, as of publication.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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