Dan Gilbert Makes Offer for Gratiot Avenue Site

Proposed Detroit MLS stadiumIn an effort to obtain his preferred site for an MLS stadium in Detroit, Dan Gilbert has submitted his offer to Wayne County.  

Wayne County is looking to resume construction of an unfinished jail at the Gratiot Avenue location, which has been targeted by Gilbert and Tom Gores for their MLS proposal. The pair have made the case that the site’s location in downtown Detroit, off Interstate 375, is best utilized for a stadium and related development. County executive Warren Evans, however, recently announced that the county will issue a request for proposal (RFP) on February 10 for completing the jail.

The offer from Gilbert calls for the county to transfer the Gratiot Avenue site to his company, Rock Ventures. In exchange, Rock Ventures would develop a new criminal justice complex that includes adult and juvenile penitentiaries, as well as a new courthouse.

The complex would be located at East Forest Avenue, off of Interstate 75. Wayne County has yet to officially decide on the proposal, but a few county officials have already offered their thoughts on the deal. More from The Detroit Free Press:

Wayne County Commission Chair Gary Woronchak, D-Dearborn, said he plans to meet with Evans about the proposal on Tuesday morning. He said the administration would need to weigh the offer on its merits before the county commission would meet to discuss it.

Woronchak has previously said he assumed the county would finish the Gratiot jail.

“At this point it’s just a proposal. I think a key point right now is I don’t want to drag this out very long. We’re going to identify pretty quickly whether this proposal has any promise or not because we really can’t wait any longer on moving forward with the jail,” Woronchak said.

He noted that the “fine print is going to mean a lot.”

Commissioner Raymond Basham, D-Taylor, downplayed the possibility that the county would accept the offer, saying the “train has left the station” and comparing it to the unlikely event of a Lions appearance in the Super Bowl.

“The taxpayers have spent a tremendous amount of money on the failed jail project,” he said. “There is no good option other than to continue to move forward and get this thing done.”

Detroit is one of 12 cities in the MLS expansion mix, as Gilbert and Gores submitted their bid last week. MLS officials will likely be watching this development closely, specifically to see whether the site can be obtained or if Gilbert and Gores can come up with an alternative in the event that the county moves forward with finishing jail construction.

Images courtesy Rosetti.

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