Contractor gets extension for Wayne Co. jail plan

Nicquel Terry

Detroit — The contractor seeking to complete Wayne County’s unfinished jail has received a six-week extension to submit its proposal.

Walsh Construction was supposed to submit its plan Wednesday, however, county officials announced Thursday they would grant the company a new deadline of June 28.

According to the county, Walsh said it needs more time to re-evaluate the programming, layout and structure outlined in the request for proposals.

The county in April granted a request from Walsh Construction to push the deadline back from May 3 to May 17. At that point, Walsh said it was still gathering bids from subcontractors so it would meet the county’s request for two jail options: a design with 1,600 beds and another with 2,280 beds.

“I want to move forward as badly as anyone, but we’re going to take the steps necessary to get it right,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said in a statement. “This is an extraordinarily difficult project and not taking the time needed to get a quality proposal doesn’t serve anyone’s interests. Walsh is asking for more time, and we’re going to grant it.”

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 is also considering another 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 and courtrooms 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.

Wayne County has been hosting meetings with Rock Ventures and key stakeholders to discuss whether Rock Venture’s plan is a viable option.