Wayne County Executive Wants Thorough Review of MLS Proposal

Proposed Detroit MLS stadium

Wayne County executive Warren Evans announced on Monday that he wants a more thorough review of a proposal for an MLS stadium in downtown Detroit

Earlier this month, Dan Gilbert‘s Rock Ventures submitted a proposal to the county to acquire the property on Gratiot Avenue that Gilbert and Tom Gores have proposed as the site for a new stadium. In exchange for allowing plans for the facility to move forward at that location, Rock Ventures would work with the county to construct a criminal justice complex at East Forest Avenue.

That is necessitated by the county’s desire to complete construction of an unfinished jail that currently occupies the Gratiot Avenue location. On Monday, Evans stated that he believes that county commissioners need to authorize a more thorough review of the current options to determine the best course financially. Evans plans to a present that plan to the commissioners later this week, and it could take several for the vetting process to be completed. More from Crain’s Detroit Business:

Evans, speaking during a news conference Monday morning, said Chicago-based Walsh Construction has until May 3 to submit its proposal to complete the half-built Wayne County Consolidated Jail project on Gratiot Avenue. He said vetting Gilbert’s competing proposal from Rock Ventures LLC that would involve building a new $420 million criminal justice complex at I-75 and East Forest Avenue would be complete by then.

“We need to continue on both tracks,” Evans said during the event at the Guardian Building in downtown Detroit.

The county executive is also requesting that the Wayne County Commission this week approve up to $500,000 for Walsh to prepare its proposal; a contract of up to $59,440 with Carter Goble Associates LLC, the county’s representative for the county, to analyze the Rock Ventures proposal; contract up to $155,800 with the National Center for State Courts to analyze the proposal; and a contract up to $50,000 with Farmington Hills-based law firm Zausmer, August & Caldwell PC to analyze any legal issues with the proposal.

“We do need to spend money to get (the jail site) right,” Evans said.

The county says the $500,000 stipend for Walsh is necessary to “keeping the Gratiot project moving as the county evaluate’s Rock’s proposal.” Walsh would only be paid the $500,000 if the county chooses to work with Rock Ventures.

In response, Rock Ventures issued a statement indicating that it will work with the county on the proposal. More from the Detroit Free Press:

“We respect the county’s process and look forward to working side-by-side with the county executive and the county commission,” Rock Ventures principal Matt Cullen said. “We have worked hard to develop and deliver to the county a proposal that, we believe, will be the best long-term outcome for the county and for the future of downtown Detroit.”

Detroit is currently one of 12 cities to be in the mix for an MLS expansion franchise. Gilbert and Gores submitted plans for the site last year, calling for the stadium to be constructed along with adjacent development. Rock Ventures issued its most recent offer after the county indicated that it could move forward with a request for proposal to finish the construction of the jail.

Image courtesy Rosseti. 

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