Wayne County Extends Deadline For Gratiot Jail Project Proposal

DETROIT (WWJ) – The construction company chosen to complete the new Wayne County jail is getting extra time to submit its proposal.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans says Walsh Construction is tackling an extremely complex project, and it makes sense to grant them a two-week extension.

County leaders, meantime, are still looking over an offer from Rock Ventures to build a jail complex on East Forest Avenue near I-75 — with officials saying they will choose whatever plan is the best deal for taxpayers.

“There are a lot of moving pieces with this project and subcontractors are asking Walsh for more time to competitively bid. We’ve advised the County that granting that extra time is the prudent decision,” said John Welborn, executive vice president of Carter Goble Associates LLC, the County’s Owner’s Representative hired to assist in vetting the two jail options. “Insufficient time for subcontractor pricing could limit competition and result in higher pricing. This is the right decision to get the most cost-effective proposal.”

Rock Ventures, a Dan Gilbert company, back in February submitted an offer to Wayne County to basically swap the high-profile site of the current jail under construction downtown for a new, state-of-the-art, consolidated criminal justice center Rock Ventures would build for the county on Forrest Ave. It would include a new adult and juvenile detention facilities and a new criminal courthouse that would replace the current Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.

Wayne County  would give Rock Ventures $300 million — the estimated cost to complete the jail at current construction site. The developer would bulldoze the failed jail, and build a $1 billion commercial development, which would potentially include a Major League Soccer stadium. [More details].

Evans has said he’s leaning toward completing the jail where it is.

The unfinished 2,000-bed jail is an eyesore in Detroit — on Gratiot near I-375 across from the county courthouse. Construction stopped in 2013 because the project was wildly over budget, with cost overruns totaling more than $90 million.

The county should receive a proposal from Walsh no later than May 17. Officials say they’re hoping to have a final decision on the jail site in mid to late June.

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