Wayne County commissioners advance jail plan
Detroit — The Wayne County Commission has pushed forward an agreement that would allow Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures to build a $533 million criminal justice center in the city.
The Committee of the Whole voted 13-1 Tuesday in favor of the project. Commissioner Diane Webb, who has consistently opposed the project, was the lone dissenting vote. Commissioner Glenn Anderson abstained, saying he needed more information about the project.
The proposal will go to the full board for a final vote Thursday.
The green light from the commission would clear one of the last hurdles needed to start the project.
The proposed complex includes a 2,280-bed jail, sheriff and prosecutor staff and administrative offices, at least 25 courtrooms, and a 160-bed juvenile detention facility. It could be completed by summer 2022 with a groundbreaking this October, officials say.
The county will be on the hook for $380 million toward the project, while Rock Ventures has committed to $153 million, plus any cost overruns.
Wayne County will use $50 million in existing IRS bonds, new bonds and general fund dollars to cover its contribution, officials say.
The county's plan to issue bonds comes amid a boost in its bond rating from S&P Global. The company said Friday that Wayne County was maintaining a structural balance due to substantial cost-cutting measures.
The agreement with the county also allows Rock Ventures to collect $30 million in parking revenue from parking sites around the new criminal justice center — any additional revenue would go to the county.
The complex is set to be built on Detroit Department of Transportation property on East Warren near Interstate 75.
“I think it’s been incredibly well-negotiated,” Matthew Cullen, principal of Rock Ventures, said during a committee of the whole meeting Monday. “I think five years from now, we will be looking at a beautiful facility on Warren operating in an appropriate way.”