The Detroit News - - Front Page - Nterry@de­troit­news.com (313) 222-6793 Twit­ter: @Nic­quelTerry

cide which deal is bet­ter. He has stressed the cho­sen plan can’t put county tax­pay­ers at risk.

“It’s not about soc­cer, and it’s not about pol­i­tics,” Evans said in a state­ment. “It’s about a county, with very real fis­cal lim­i­ta­tions, fi­nanc­ing a des­per­ately needed jail, which has al­ready cost tax­pay­ers mil­lions.”

Evans plans to make a sion by late July.

The com­pet­ing bids are sym­bolic of two dif­fer­ent vi­sions for the boom­ing down­town. Gil­bert seeks more mar­quee de­vel­op­ment while county of­fi­cials say Rock Ven­tures has yet to prove its idea doesn’t put county tax­pay­ers at risk by mov­ing the jail else­where.

Rock Ven­tures’ plan calls for the crim­i­nal jus­tice com­plex to be built on sep­a­rate land owned by Detroit ad­ja­cent to its for­merly pro­posed lo­ca­tion on East For­est. The new pro­posal would build the com­plex, in­clud­ing the jail, on a 13-acre prop­erty that is bounded by the I-75 Ser­vice Drive, East War­ren, East Ferry, Rus­sell and Fred­er­ick. The site cur­rently houses ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices and bus main­te­nance fa­cil­i­ties for the Detroit Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.


Rock Ven­tures’ bid didn’t put a price on buy­ing that DDOT prop­erty. But a com­mer­cial real es­tate an­a­lyst said it’s an ex­pen­sive propo­si­tion.

“An in­dus­trial/ware­house prop­erty like that is very prized prop­erty,” said John DeG­root, a re­search an­a­lyst for New­mark Knight Frank, which is a com­mer­cial real es­tate ad­vi­sory firm. “It’s valu­able be­cause there is about 1 per­cent va­cancy rate in the area for that kind of fa­cil­ity.”

The city would have to find an­other space to move its DDOT fa­cil­i­ties, as­sum­ing it doesn’t own an ex­ist­ing space it has in mind, DeG­root said.

Gil­bert’s crim­i­nal jus­tice com­plex would have a jail, crim­i­nal court­house, pros­e­cu­tor of­fices, sher­iff ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices and a ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion fa­cil­ity.

“We are con­fi­dent” about the new pro­posal, said Matt Cullen, Rock Ven­tures prin­ci­pal. “We will build you a new $520 mil­lion crim­i­nal jus­tice com­plex, and the city will end up with an­other beau­ti­ful new de­vel­op­ment” in the cur­rent jail site, he said.

Once Evans de­cides on a pro­posal, the county will then ne­go­ti­ate a con­tract and send it to the Wayne County Com­mis­sion and Wayne County Build­ing Au­thor­ity for ap­proval.

“The goal was to pro­vide the county with al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions to the jail project, and we’ve done that,” Evans said in a state­ment. “We’re fi­nally able to fully eval­u­ate the pro­pos­als and pur­sue what’s best for Wayne County.

“... Just like ev­ery­one else in Wayne County, I’m tired of talk. I want the jail project re­solved.”

County spokesman Jim Martinez ac­knowl­edged there are ben­e­fits to Rock Ven­tures’ pro­posal with new crim­i­nal jus­tice build­ings and a soc­cer sta­dium. How­ever, Evans needs to de­ter­mine what the county can af­ford to fi­nance long term, Martinez said.

Wayne County Com­mis­sion mem­bers say they’ll await Evans’ rec­om­men­da­tion.

“We’re de­fer­ring to the (county’s) ad­min­is­tra­tion to do some due dili­gence on the two op­tions, and we’re wait­ing for the county ex­ec­u­tive to make a rec­om­men­da­tion, which should be in a few weeks,” Chair­man Gary Woron­chak said af­ter the com­mis­sion’s full board meet­ing Thurs­day.

City of­fi­cials say they are will­ing to con­sider Rock Ven­tures’ of­fer to build the jail com­plex on the DDOT prop­erty. But city spokesman John Roach said Detroit has not de­ter­mined the cost of that land.

“Any pro­posal also would have to con­sider the unique re­place­ment needs of a fa­cil­ity like this one, which must be able to ac­com­mo­date a large num­ber of city buses, many of which are 60foot-long, ar­tic­u­lated ve­hi­cles,” DDOT Direc­tor Dan Dirks said. “How­ever, our first con­sid­er­a­tion for any pro­posal is that it not neg­a­tively af­fect tax­pay­ers or DDOT cus­tomers.”

Cullen said the new pro­posed jail site “has more op­tions and scale.” He added the city in­formed Rock Ven­tures it was look­ing into con­sol­i­dat­ing DDOT fa­cil­i­ties and that space may be avail­able.

Rock Ven­tures’ lat­est bid is a bit fluid about the MLS soc­cer and sta­dium part of the deal.

“We are go­ing to be cre­at­ing very sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment that may or may not in­clude an MLS project,” said Cullen, re­fer­ring to Ma­jor League Soc­cer, the U.S. pro soc­cer league.

“We are go­ing to move for­ward whether MLS is there or not.”

The of­fi­cial bid also puts build­ing a sta­dium in flux by say­ing the de­vel­op­ment could have “po­ten­tially a Ma­jor League Soc­cer sta­dium.”

Rock Ven­tures orig­i­nally pro­posed a 1,600-bed jail with a crim­i­nal jus­tice com­plex on East For­est. The county would be on the hook for the first $300 mil­lion of that project, which was es­ti­mated to cost $420 mil­lion. Rock tossed in an op­tion to in­crease the jail to 2,000 beds if the county paid an ad­di­tional $43 mil­lion.

Af­ter that pro­posal was sub­mit­ted, the county’s ad­min­is­tra- tion said it worked with key stake­hold­ers to vet the plan and ad­vise Rock Ven­tures on what it needed to change to meet the county’s needs. Rock Ven­tures took those rec­om­men­da­tions and cre­ated the re­vised pro­posal, county of­fi­cials say. The orig­i­nal pro­posal is no longer on the ta­ble.

Rock Ven­tures an­tic­i­pates the crim­i­nal jus­tice com­plex would be com­pleted by Nov. 5, 2020.

While Rock Ven­tures worked with the county to re­vise its plan, Walsh re­ceived two dead­line ex­ten­sions to sub­mit its pro­posal.

It was no sur­prise that Rock Ven­tures turned in its new plan on the same day as Walsh, Martinez said.

“It was made clear that we needed to be re­view­ing these pro­pos­als at the same time,” Martinez said.

Walsh said in a let­ter at­tached to the pro­posal that the com­pany met weekly with county stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing the sher­iff ’s depart­ment and fa­cil­i­ties depart­ment.

The com­pany ex­pects its jail project to cre­ate “count­less” jobs for the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“De­liv­er­ing a project of this sig­nif­i­cance to Wayne County is a unique op­por­tu­nity to adap­tively re­use the ex­ist­ing con­struc­tion site and ma­te­ri­als while si­mul­ta­ne­ously de­vel­op­ing a state-of-the art cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity in an eco­nomic method,” Walsh said in a let­ter to the Wednes­day.

Walsh’s pro­posal said con­struc­tion of the jail would be com­plete by Aug. 31, 2020. The com­pany wants to max­i­mize the use of ex­ist­ing ma­te­ri­als and equip­ment stored by Wayne County from the failed project, ac­cord­ing to the pro­posal.

Peter Do­herty, a spokesman for Walsh, de­clined to com­ment fur­ther on the plan when reached by email Thurs­day.

Of­fi­cials have said the county will seek bonds to pay to com­plete the Greek­town project. The county also has about $50 mil­lion in un­spent bonds from the pre­vi­ous project.

In 2011, Wayne County be­gan con­struc­tion on its then $220 mil­lion jail project, when Robert Fi­cano was Wayne County’s ex­ec­u­tive. The 2,000-bed project, across the street from the Frank Mur­phy Hall of Jus­tice, was stopped June 2013 af­ter $100 mil­lion in over­runs and charges of cor­rup­tion.

About $151 mil­lion was spent in con­struc­tion, ac­qui­si­tion and de­sign of the jail, with much of the work done un­der­ground, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials. The half-fin­ished jail has sat un­used at a cost of $1.6 mil­lion a month, county of­fi­cials es­ti­mate.



Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.