Demolition of the half-constructed Wayne County “fail jail” started earlier this month after Dan Gilbert’s long journey to obtain the land at Gratiot Avenue and I-375. Originally part of the failed bid to bring a Major League Soccer team to Detroit, the fail jail site was slated to become a $1 billion development including an MLS arena.
When the MLS bid fell through, Gilbert made a deal with the county in which his Rock Ventures would receive the 15-acre jail site downtown in return for assistance building a new Wayne County criminal justice facility around I-75 and East Warren Avenue. Rock Ventures will obtain the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, Division I and II jails, and the Juvenile Detention Facility downtown when the new criminal justice facility is completed. Current reports estimate the project will be completed in 2022.
Back in March when the deal was made, Gilbert said in a statement, “This agreement is an outstanding example of Detroit 2.0, where the public and private sectors partner together in a smart, cooperative and optimistic manner to find and implement the best outcome possible. The solution here not only fixes significant mistakes of the past, but at the same time delivers to the County a completely new, ground-up criminal justice center, in addition to resulting in a large, mixed-use development on the former proposed jail site.”
Crain’s Detroit reports that demolition will continue throughout the summer and into the fall and will require both above- and belowground work. Although there are no official reports on what will be constructed, it’s safe to assume based on Gilbert’s past projects that a mixed-use development containing residential units, restaurants, and retail space will be present. With the inclusion of the other criminal justice facilities, Gilbert’s real estate arm Bedrock will have tons of prime Greektown land to build on between I-375, Gratiot, Beaubien St, and Macomb St.