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Dan Gilbert offers deal to fix Wayne County's jail problem

Deal with give Gilbert land of failed Gratiot Avenue jail

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – A new deal was offered Monday by Dan Gilbert to Wayne County, promising to fix its jail problem. The deal says Gilbert's company, Rock Ventures, would build not just a new jail, but a whole new criminal justice complex up the road.

In exchange, the county would give up the property of the failed jail site on Gratiot Avenue.

Gilbert's group claims it will cost $420 million to build the new complex, but it's still willing to do it for the $300 million the county was going to spend to complete the jail on Gratiot Avenue.

Is the deal too good to be true? At least one county commissioner isn't buying it.

Rock Venture is offering to build both an adult and a juvenile jail and a criminal courthouse for $300 million.

READRock Ventures' Wayne County Jail cost savings proposal

The land on Gratiot Avenue would go to Gilbert and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, who would potentially build a $1 billion development that would include a Major League Soccor stadium. They're calling it the "gateway to downtown."

It would also include plans for commercial, hotel and residential space. Traffic could become a problem in this plan.

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The new criminal justice complex would be built on East Forest Avenue, just off I-75.

Wayne County confirmed Monday night it received the proposal as an alternative to completing the jail on Gratiot Avenue.

"We will withhold further comment on the offer until we've had the opportunity to review it," the county said in a statement.

Wayne County Commissioner Ray Basham isn't withholding anything. He's against the proposal. He said the deal isn't a win-win, but a win for Gilbert and a loss for county taxpayers.

Basham said the best thing for the county would be to finish what it started with the jail on Gratiot Avenue and renovating the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. He said he's confident most of the other 14 commissioners will agree with him.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans hasn't responded to the proposal.

The county commissioners don't appear to be happy that the deal is being played out in the media.

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