News Story

After decade-long saga, Wayne County to move to new jail

Wayne County went $100 million over budget, even more than the Fail Jail

A decade after admitting defeat on a Fail Jail that was started and never finished, and after accruing $100 million of cost overruns on the second attempt, Wayne County has taken possession of a new jail.

As the Detroit Free Press’s JC Reindl reports, the March 18 handoff of the keys to the Wayne County Jail starts a six-month clock for various entities — the sheriff’s Office, prosecutor’s office and the circuit court — to move to the new facility. Wayne County partnered with Dan Gilbert and his company, Bedrock, to build the new facility.

While a previous attempt at the Wayne County Jail, under County Executive Bob Ficano, was halted and eventually called off after about $90 million in cost overruns, the new jail’s cost overruns were even higher, above $100 million. Wayne County Executive Warren Evans presided over the second effort.

As Reindl reports:

The complex’s design and construction were originally budgeted at $533.6 million, with the county’s costs set at $401.3 million and Bedrock’s at $132.3 million.

Total costs now stand at $670.7 million, with the county’s share at $502.8 million and Bedrock’s share at $167.9 million, according to documents obtained by the Free Press.

The overruns mostly owe to the need for a new DTE power plant at the jail site, for $35 million, and buying out parking rights so employees could park for free, which cost $28 million.

Gilbert will take possession of the two adult jail buildings downtown as well as the juvenile jail and the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, home to Wayne County Circuit Court and the county prosecutor’s office.

The new facility was built off Mack and Interstate 75.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.