Wayne Co. jail contractor gets extension to submit plan

The Detroit News

Wayne County has agreed to give a contractor an additional two weeks to submit a proposal for completing the county’s unfinished jail.

The county said Tuesday it had granted a request from Walsh Construction to push the deadline back from May 3 to May 17.

Walsh agreed late last year to submit a proposal to finish building the jail at Gratiot and Interstate 375. The Chicago-based company was the only contractor to express interest in finishing the jail, where construction was halted in 2013 after $100 million in cost overruns were discovered.

The county approved the extension because subcontractors had asked for more time to prepare project bids, and to give Walsh time to develop a 2,000-bed alternative.

“Walsh is tackling an extremely complex project and we agreed it made sense to provide some additional time to get a thorough proposal to finish at Gratiot,” county Executive Warren Evans said in a statement. “We granted the extension, but have asked them to provide the proposal as soon as possible. We want to have a final decision in June.”

Besides possibly hiring Walsh to finish the partially built jail, the county is considering a proposal from billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert to build a new jail at a different site.

Under Gilbert’s proposal, his company Rock Ventures would build a 1,600-bed jail on eight acres east of the I-75 service drive between East Forest and East Warren. Rock has said it would charge the county $300 million for a project it estimates would cost $420 million.

In return, the county would give Rock the site of the unfinished jail for a $1 billion mixed-use development that would include a soccer stadium.

The county said Rock included an option to build a 2,000-bed jail for an additional $43 million.