Panel Recommends Gilbert for Downtown Detroit Justice Site

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Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, is one step closer to securing Wayne County’s justice site, which includes a partially completed jail, the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, two other jails, and a juvenile detention center. The 15.5-acre parcel is located at I-375 and Gratiot, and next to the Greentown-Hotel and Casino, which Gilbert purchased earlier this year.

In a meeting Wednesday before the Wayne County Commission, a special panel recommended Gilbert’s Rock Ventures as the winning bid for the site. The $50-million offer was favored over a $100-million bid by Triple Properties Inc. in Toronto (which included a $50-million lease back to the county), and a nearly $18 million-bid by a private developer group led by Todd Fenton.

Ultimately, Rock Ventures plans to convert the justice site into a $500-million, mixed-use development offering residential, retail, and office space, while the partially completed jail site would become an entertainment venue. The company would take responsibility for demolishing the various structures (Greektown Casino has first right of refusal on the two operating jail sites).

In August, Wayne County released a request for proposals for development of the overall site. In July, the county stopped work on the third jail site due to rising costs — $91 million more than the budgeted $300 million.

Moving forward, the committee will present a preliminary, 90-day option agreement to the commission next week. The presentation of the nonbinding option could be delayed due to a request for more information from members of the Wayne County Commission.  

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