DETROIT – At the request of Walsh Construction, the qualified bidder to complete the unfinished jail at Gratiot, Wayne County granted a two-week extension to the Request for Proposal (RFP) deadline. The County should receive a proposal from Walsh no later than May 17. The request was necessitated by subcontractors requesting additional time to competitively bid on the project as well as the development of a 2,000-bed alternative proposal.
“Walsh is tackling an extremely complex project and we agreed it made sense to provide some additional time to get a thorough proposal to finish at Gratiot,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We granted the extension, but have asked them to provide the proposal as soon as possible. We want to have a final decision in June.”
Today, the County issued an addendum to the original RFP, which had a deadline of May 3. Based on the new deadline and the timeline outlined in the addendum, a decision on Walsh’s proposal would likely be made by mid to late June. The extension ensures that Walsh’s RFP will include two jail options at Gratiot, differing in bed capacity. As the County awaits the Walsh proposal, it is also vetting the offer from Rock Ventures to build a criminal justice complex on East Forest Avenue.
Rock’s original offer was to build the County a 1,600 bed jail, criminal courthouse, prosecutor’s offices and juvenile detention facility on an alternative site, if the County paid the first $300 million, the same amount the County estimates it will cost to finish the Gratiot jail and renovate the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. Rock estimated the cost of this project at $420 million and promised to cover any cost overruns. Rock’s proposal included an option to increase the jail to 2,000 beds, but required the County to spend an additional $43 million above the $300 million.
“Because the Rock Ventures proposal has a 2,000-bed option, we thought it best to ensure the Walsh proposal had a similar alternative,” said Wayne County Deputy CEO Richard Kaufman. “When we asked Walsh for a 2,000-bed option, they suggested a slightly larger alternative based on design and layout of the existing structure. We then asked Rock to increase the size of their 2,000-bed option to more closely align with Walsh’s expected alternative proposal.”
The extension will also provide more time for subcontractors to competitively bid on work with Walsh for the Gratiot project, which will ultimately include options of approximately 1,600 and 2,280 beds.
“There are a lot of moving pieces with this project and subcontractors are asking Walsh for more time to competitively bid. We’ve advised the County that granting that extra time is the prudent decision,” said John Welborn, executive vice president of Carter Goble Associates LLC, which is County’s Owner’s Representative hired to assist in vetting the two jail options. “Insufficient time for subcontractor pricing could limit competition and result in higher pricing. This is the right decision to get the most cost-effective proposal.”
The County is continuing along Executive Evans’ dual track strategy of evaluating both options: finishing the Gratiot site or pursuing the Rock site at East Forest Avenue. Currently, the County is hosting meetings between Rock Ventures and key stakeholders to determine if the Rock proposal is a viable option in meeting the County’s criminal justice needs. The County needs to have an updated and comprehensive proposal from Rock by the time it is ready to accept Walsh’s proposal.
A week after receiving the Rock proposal, Executive Evans outlined three overarching concerns with the Rock proposal that continue to be discussed:
1) Whether what Rock is proposing to build on East Forest Avenue for an estimated $420 million is adequate to meet the County’s criminal justice needs?
2) Whether it is appropriate to pay Rock for any operational efficiencies resulting from the use of these new buildings, limited to efficiencies beyond what were expected from a new jail on Gratiot and a renovated Murphy Hall of Justice, and if so, the details of how they would be calculated, when they would be paid and the duration of such payments?
3) Resolving the uncertainty of tax issues relating to the use of the jail bond and any jail bond proceeds to build the jail on an alternative site.
The Wayne County Commission approved a series of contracts based on Executive Evans’ recommendations on how best to vet Rock’s proposal as part of the dual track strategy. Any contract with Walsh or Rock would need approval of the Wayne County Commission and the Wayne County Building Authority.