Dan Gilbert wins bid to buy, build on failed Wayne County jail site

Rock Ventures expected to build entertainment, retail, housing on 2 full blocks

Author: Rod Meloni, Local 4 Business Editor, @RodMeloni
Published On: Oct 29 2013 05:41:07 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 29 2013 06:30:29 PM EDT
Failed Wayne County jail site now Dan Gilberts
DETROIT -

Dan Gilbert and his Rock Ventures found out Friday they are the winning bidder who gets to build on the site of the failed Wayne County jail project.

Gilbert will pay $50 million for the site of the halted construction and three other neighboring buildings. He has plans to make it a very different neighborhood and monumental disaster is about to transform downtown Detroit.

Story: Wayne County jail project evidence under preservation order

Entertainment, retail, housing planned for site

Rock Ventures is expected to build a billion-dollar entertainment and retail complex along with housing, lofts, town homes and apartments on two full blocks.

On Wednesday, the Wayne County Commission will hold a joint meeting with the county Building Authority. During the meeting, the RFI Committee -- a seven-member board assigned the job of getting a new jail out of the money available -- will present its plan.

Local 4 has learned Rock Ventures will buy the failed jail site along with two old Wayne County jails on Clinton Street and the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Center for $50 million. That will be added to the $50 million the county did not use after stopping jail construction and then try to cobble together bond sales from the remaining $100 million in bonding authority to build a $200 million renovation kitty.

The plan moves the failed jail to its new home -- the former Mound Road Correctional Facility -- to construct a justice center.

Wayne County jail pods Gratiot Wayne County will salvage as much as possible from the failed jail project, which includes the jail pods already installed on Gratiot Avenue and the 100 others still stored downriver.

Story: Wayne County jail pods sit in the sun

The county also will have 2,600 cells -- the original number needed -- and while the new Mound Road facility will not have all the bells and whistles of the downtown jail, it will come with courtrooms, making operations more efficient.

The Building Authority and the County Commission are not going to be voting on this plan on Wednesday. They merely will be asked to allow the RFI Committee to take 90 days to pull all of the assorted details together for a final plan. At that point the county will ask for this vote.