Contractor submits bid to finish Wayne County jail

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

A contractor has submitted a proposal for completing Wayne County’s unfinished jail site.

County officials confirmed that Walsh Construction had met the Wednesday deadline after receiving two extensions.

Jim Martinez, a spokesman for county Executive Warren Evans, said officials would not have any immediate comment on the proposal Wednesday. Martinez said he expects to release details and a response on Thursday.

County officials are reviewing the plan.

In May, the county pushed the deadline back after Walsh said it needed 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 could meet the county’s request for two jail options: a design with 1,600 beds and another with 2,280 beds.

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 an alternative plan for a jail with more beds.

The county also 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 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 the company’s plan is viable.


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