Criminal Justice Center, $1B Mixed-Use Coming to Detroit

The Gratiot jail development will be replaced with a mixed-use project developed by Rock Ventures. The Wayne County jail facility will be rebuilt in partnership with the local developer on a new parcel acquired from the city of Detroit.

Wayne County and Rock Ventures announced a tentative agreement to build a $533 million criminal justice center as a solution to the Gratiot jail project, blocked since 2013. Costs will be shared between the two parties: The county will invest $380, while Rock Ventures will be responsible for $153 million plus potential overruns. The project is expected to break ground in October, according to Detroit Free Press, with completion scheduled for 2022.

The four-building development will be located on a lot bounded by the Interstate 75 Service Drive and East Warren Avenue. The land is being acquired from the city of Detroit, but the transaction is pending approval from the Wayne County Commission and the Wayne County Land Bank, which owns the property. The justice center will include the county’s 2,280-bed jail, sheriff and prosecutor staff and administrative offices, criminal courthouse and juvenile detention facility.

5-year halt

As part of the agreement, Wayne County will transfer to Rock Ventures the existing Division I and II jails, juvenile detention facility and Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. Once the deal is approved and executed, these properties will be leased back to the County for $1 per year until the criminal justice center is complete and the County has transitioned to the use of the new facilities. Barton Malow Co. will serve as the general contractor for the new justice center and Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Inc. will act as the architect.

“I’m pleased that building the new jail will allow us to close the County’s three existing jails, leading to improved efficiency, cost savings and addressing the long-standing poor conditions,” said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, in a prepared statement.

In a separate transaction, Rock will purchase the lot where the unfinished Gratiot jail is located. The half-built facility will be replaced with a mixed-use downtown urban development estimated at more than $1 billion. Rock Ventures will soon begin design and planning work for the project. Bedrock, Rock’s sister company, broke ground on a similar $1 billion downtown redevelopment in December last year.

The agreement comes after five years since the funding for the Gratiot jail ran out, leaving the structure half built. Initially, Wayne County partnered with the city of Detroit for the objective.

Image courtesy of Wayne County