A tentative agreement has been reached between Detroit and Wayne County for a land swap, helping to move a proposed Detroit MLS stadium plan forward.
Led by Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores, Detroit’s MLS expansion bid includes a proposal to build a new stadium and related development on a site at Gratiot Avenue that is currently occupied by an unfinished jail. Gilbert’s Rock Ventures has pitched an agreement that would lead to the completion of a new criminal justice complex near Interstate 75, leaving the Gratiot Avenue site for the stadium. Wayne County executive Warren Evans said earlier this summer that he is instructing his team to pursue an agreement with Rock Ventures, and discussions over that proposal have unfolded since.
In the latest turn, the city and county have agreed to a land swap that would help the county build a criminal justice complex at Rock Ventures’ proposed site. The tentative agreement calls for the city to transfer a portion of a Detroit Department of Transportation property located near Interstate 75 and Warren to the county. In return, the city would receive the former American Motors Corp. headquarters in west Detroit.
The agreement is subject to further discussions, but it does help to move the proposal for an MLS stadium forward. More from The Detroit News:
“This agreement gets us one step closer to a deal with Rock Ventures,” said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans in statement. “Acquiring this land was one of the significant hurdles to Rock’s proposed criminal justice complex. We worked out a tentative deal that makes a lot of sense for the city and county, and we look forward to finalizing the agreement.”
Gilbert is trying to convince the county to green-light a $520.3 million proposal that would build the criminal justice complex, which includes a jail, on the DDOT property under the condition that Wayne County acquires the land from the city.
In exchange for the complex, Gilbert’s Rock Ventures wants to use the unfinished jail site in Greektown for a $1 billion mixed-use development anchored by an MLS soccer stadium and high-rise buildings. That development could have more than a $2.4 billion economic impact, the company has said.
The Detroit City Council, Wayne County Commission and Wayne County Land Bank Board must approve the land swap, officials say.
Detroit is one of 12 expansion candidates in the mix. The backing of Gores and Gilbert–owners of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively–gives the bid an experienced ownership group, while MLS commissioner Don Garber signaled Detroit out for praise in remarks he made about expansion candidates this summer.
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