Detroit Greenlights Plans for New and Old Jails

A city-county land swap will allow Dan Gilbert to reimagine a former jail, plus build an entirely new one.
November 30, 2017, 6am PST | Elana Eden
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The "most imprisoned nation in the world," the U.S. has more than 5,000 jails and prisons nationwide. One of the most recent, Detroit Free Press reports, is a $520.3 million jail complex moving ahead in Wayne County. Detroit City Council approved a deal crucial to the development this week after a county judge denied a lawsuit seeking to block the project.

The development by Rock Ventures—the company owned by billionaire Dan Gilbertrelies on a land swap between Detroit and Wayne County that gives the city the former American Motors headquarters in exchange for an 11-acre site for the new jail. (That agreement still has to be inked by the county.) As part of the deal, Rock Ventures would also be able to redevelop the site of the existing, unfinished Wayne County jail project with a $1 billion commercial project.

The new jail site isn't zoned for institutional living, according to the lawsuit, which claimed the proposal ignored city zoning and land-use ordinances and dodged required studies on traffic impacts and historic preservation.

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Published on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 in Detroit Free Press
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