Detroit City Council to decide on Wayne County jail site land swap deal

City leaders to vote on plan to give land to Dan Gilbert

DETROIT – Detroit city leaders will decide Tuesday whether to swap land with Wayne County to move the failed jail site out of Downtown and into Midtown. 

Under the agreement, Wayne County would acquire part of the Detroit Department of Transportation property bounded by the I-75 Service Drive and East Warren Avenue. That's where Gilbert's Rock Ventures would build the jail complex in exchange for the Gratiot Avenue site where the county's jail construction failed.

In exchange for the DDOT property, Detroit would acquire the former American Motors Corp. (AMC) headquarters near Plymouth Road and Schaefer Highway on Detroit’s west side, which is currently owned by the Land Bank. 

Gilbert had plans for a soccer stadium on the Gratiot Avenue site, but those plans have gone away. However, his team still sees a mixed-use development in the future. 

Wayne County, however, has not discussed this deal. Tuesday's Detroit City Council vote is just one piece of the puzzle. 

"As of now I do not support it. Who decided this area? Was community ever at the table? And I'm not  confident that they were," said Councilwoman Mary Sheffield (District 5). 

The city does have another option on the table: City Council could say no to the swap and just sell the land to the county. The price tag is about $757,000.

If the city does approve the swap deal, then the Wayne County Commission has to review the issue and make a decision. 

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