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Wayne County approves land swap deal, one step closer to new jail deal with Gilbert

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County
Wayne County
The incomplete Wayne County jail.

The Wayne County Commission sealed a deal to swap some land with the city of Detroit Thursday.

It’s part of a larger deal that has the county partnering with billionaire Dan Gilbert to build a new $533 million criminal justice center.

The land swap deal with Detroit gives Wayne County a spot to build a new jail and courthouse.

It’s the path the county has chosen to rid itself of its so-called “fail jail:” a half-finished jail that sits in downtown Detroit. Construction stopped in 2013 when the project went way over-budget.

As it happens, that doomed project sits on a piece of downtown property that Detroit mega-developer Dan Gilbert has long wanted. Gilbert’s Rock Ventures offered to build Wayne County a new criminal justice complex on its newly-acquired land, in exchange for the unfinished jail site. Rock will foot part of the bill.

The final step is for Wayne County commissioners to approve the deal with Gilbert. They’re expected to vote sometime this summer.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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