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Detroit city council agrees to jail land swap deal

The unfinished Wayne County jail near Gratiot Ave. in Detroit.
Wayne County
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A three-party land swap that would be the beginning of a project to get a new Wayne County Jail built near downtown Detroit cleared a hurdle Tuesday. Detroit city council approved a resolution to trade a piece of city-owned property for a parcel currently owned by the county.

The county wants that land to be the site of a new jail. But the deal still needs to be negotiated, and approved by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners and the Wayne County Land Bank. Detroit city council passed the resolution after tabling the measure last week.

Rock Ventures is the third party here. The Dan Gilbert-owned company wants to own the site of the now-infamous unfinished jail near Gratiot ave. in downtown Detroit. Rock Ventures made an “unsolicited proposal” to build the county a new $520.3 million jail in exchange for the Gratiot Ave. property.

Detroit City Councilmember Raquel Castañeda-López said she was given additional information about the proposed jail’s HVAC system and how it would mitigate worse air quality at the site, which is near a highway. She said the county had also agreed to seek more feedback from city residents by hosting public meetings.

“I think having meetings in the community to continue engagement is really key based on concerns that we’ve heard,” said Castañeda-López. “There’s people that had concerns about traffic flows, the design, proximity [of the jail] to their neighborhood.”

For its part of the land swap, the Detroit City Council agreed to transfer property at 1301 E. Warren Ave. to Wayne County in exchange for the former American Motors Company Headquarters at 14250 Plymouth, which is currently in county hands.

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