Detroit— The first stage of demolition work has started at Wayne County's unfinished jail site on Gratiot. 

Crews were at the site Tuesday with excavators tearing through parts of the partially built structure.

Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures acquired the land earlier this year in a deal with the county that requires the Detroit-based entrepreneur to build a $533 million criminal justice complex on Warren near Interstate 75. 

More: Claims of ‘inhumane’ conditions fuel bid for new Wayne County jail

Gilbert has vowed to put a $1 billion development at the Gratiot site, but a formal plan has not been announced. 

Matt Cullen, principal of Rock Ventures, said in June that the plan would include mixed-used development for both residential and entertainment uses. 

Gabrielle Poshadlo, spokeswoman for Gilbert's Bedrock real estate firm, said Tuesday that crews were preparing the site for demolition, which will happen later this summer. 

"A massive concrete structure like the incomplete jail on the Gratiot site requires elaborate preparation to ensure a successful and complete demolition," Poshadlo said in a statement. "Crews are currently working to clear portions of the site to allow proper access for demolition equipment. “

Wayne County officials have called the incomplete jail the“most notorious symbol of government failure." 

In 2011, Wayne County started building the estimated $220 million jail near the I-75 service drive.

In 2013, an estimated $151 million of the jail was built when construction was stopped because the price to finish the project jumped by $171 million more than originally planned. The cost overruns ultimately led to corruption charges against two county officials and a contractor working on the site.


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