Wayne County moves forward with completing downtown jail

Wayne County is moving “full speed ahead” on completing a long-in-the-works downtown Detroit jail, saying construction that had begun on the site is structurally sound and suitable for restarting construction.

The county will begin construction again on the Gratiot Avenue site next year, per a news release given to media Wednesday afternoon. County officials contracted with the Mannik & Smith Group to complete an audit of the site to determine the feasibility of building upon the steel, concrete and masonry work already in place.

“The report is clear – the jail site is structurally sound.   Construction can restart next year,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans says in the release. “We are doing our due diligence to make the best possible decision for Wayne County and move this project forward. These results strengthen the case for completing the jail and will be included in the information we provide prospective bidders on the project.”

Mannik & Smith’s report, according to the county, found no structural damage on the site and no issues of cracking or leaking joints with previously installed sanitary and storm sewer lines. There was cosmetic damage, including discoloration and oxidation of exposed steel beams, but it will not affect future construction.

The county stopped construction on the site in June 2013, having spent $151 million until that point. This year, Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert proposed purchasing the site from the county and building a soccer stadium.

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But it will be a jail. “There’s been no shortage of speculation about this project, but we’re continuing to move forward with the Gratiot site,” Evans said. “Once we issue the RFP, we’re not looking back. It’ll be full speed ahead on the Gratiot site.”

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