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Posted on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Vacant juvenile detention center on Platt Road will be razed this fall

By Amy Biolchini


Washtenaw County's former juvenile detention center at 2270 Platt Road in Ann Arbor will be torn down by the end of October.

Courtney Sacco I

Washtenaw County's vacant, 44-year-old juvenile detention center at 2270 Platt Road in Ann Arbor will be razed this fall.

Crews contracted by the county have completed salvaging items from the building, and are now working to remove hazardous materials from the interior—including asbestos abatement.

County officials estimate the environmental abatement will be complete by early September.


The former Washtenaw County Juvenile Detention Center, as seen Friday, at 2270 Platt Road in Ann Arbor.

Courtney Sacco I

Demolition of the 42,320-square-foot former juvenile detention center is scheduled for completion by late October. It is located 13.5 acres of property—appraised recently at $1.4 million—next to County Farm Park and near the new Arbor Hills shopping center that's slated to open in August.

Work is expected to wrap up at the site by mid-November. Initial estimates from county staff indicate the demolition may cost about $1 million.

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners approved the demolition of the facility this summer as a part of a $5 million space plan to move county departments.

The juvenile detention center has been vacant since 2011 and costs about $211,040 to operate annually. The Platt Road property will remain in the county’s ownership following demolition.


The back side of the former juvenile detention center.

Courtney Sacco I

A smaller building on the property—the 6,680-square-foot O'Brien Center previously used by the public defender and prosecuting attorney—is not slated for demolition.

Officials envision the entire property becoming a mixed-use site with an affordable housing development, alternative energy solutions and county offices.

Conversations regarding the future of the property will continue this year, as the Board of Commissioners will be appointing members to an oversight committee to guide and oversee developments.

In the interim period, Project Grow—a non-profit Ann Arbor organization that creates community garden spaces—has made use of a small portion of the county’s property at 2270 Platt Road.

Beginning in 2012, people could lease a plot in a new community garden on the property. About 16 plots are available on the site, according to Project Grow’s website.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

get rid of it

Bob McCurrach

Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Why not use it for homeless and develop a program to help make it self sufficient?

Deb Clark

Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.


Anthony Clark

Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 2:40 a.m.

Where are juvenile delinquents held now?

Basic Bob

Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

Hogback Road.

Jon Wax

Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 2:36 a.m.

"in the summer of 2013, several midwestern teenagers decided to break into an abandoned juvenile detention center not knowing the ghosts of the previous tenants had still roamed the halls. none of the teens were ever heard from again, but the videotapes from their encounter were found. this is their story..." probably already out there on the web somewhere. Peace Wax


Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 1:24 a.m.

So many memories. Ah, well. Life goes on, one supposes.


Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 12:59 a.m.

That place was the Guantanamo of Ann Arbor.

Jon Wax

Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

so... "guant-ann-amo"? Peace Wax

Ashley Zimmerman

Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

As someone who lives in the adjacent neighborhood, I'm not too excited about the idea of apartments going in. I wouldn't mind if it were senior housing, though. But I'd much prefer an extension to the adjacent park or some other way to keep more green space and less development...


Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 2:13 a.m.

Ashley, my vision is not apartments; a condo developer would sell the condos to seniors and the condos would go on the tax rolls (unlike low income senior apartments). Federal mortgage loan guarantees are available to a for-profit developer of senior condos. They would be located a short walk from the new shopping center on Washtenaw, across from Whole Foods. Would attract well-to-do Seniors from around the U.S.A. A total Win-Win for all concerned!

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 9:50 p.m.

They should have made this the new city hall and saved $65+ million dollars.


Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

great location for low income senior housing


Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

PineyWoodsGuy -- it is adjacent to the County Farm Park and might make a nice pastoral adjunct to the Country Farm Park (which, as you undoubtedly know, is mostly wooded). Anytime a parcel adjacent to a park opens up reasonable to think about buying it.


Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

Yep Fred! If I had a home adjacent to the 13.5 acres I would also love it to become parkland! National magazines tout Ann Arbor as one of the Top Ten Cities for Retirees. Senior condos are needed in Ann Arbor much more than acres of grassland out your backdoor. Pardon my snideness . . . this fight will be all about NIMBY.

David Cahill

Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Just one quibble - the entire Juvenile Court facility is to be razed. The detention center is (was) just one wing of the facility.

Dog Guy

Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Razing buildings to clear land for subsistence farming . . . Pure Detroit.


Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Except that isn't what's happening. The "farming" that will be on that land is already there off to the side.


Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

Sell the 13.5 acres to a developer for a senior citizen condo project (Federal funds are available to such a dedicated use). Put the proceeds of the 13.5 acre sale into the Pension fund that we've heard so much belly-aching about! Condos would add to the tax base! This is - by no stretch of anyone's imagination - "park land." Ann Arbor needs another park like it needs a hole in the head!


Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 10:31 a.m.

Razing buildings go faster when owned by the government! Takes forever in court with private owners.


Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 4:19 a.m.

Amy and Bob. You got that Right! Get the 13.5 acres out of the hands of the 9 County Commissioners [comment about their IQ level Deleted] and into the ownership of a For-Profit Condo Developer. Put the 13.5 acres onto the Tax Rolls!!! Ann Arbor needs those tax dollars. The County needs those tax dollars. Ann Arbor does not need another park; they have parks sticking out their ears!

Basic Bob

Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

Detroit House of Corrections? Abandoned since 1986.

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

True. The county has been talking about what to do with this property since 2011 when it was vacated. It has been a priority for the county to come up with a plan for the building, as it costs about $210K/year to maintain the empty facility.


Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 10:21 a.m.

Excellent. Rotting eyesore.


Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 4:21 a.m.

Join the Team Halter. Help us get the 13.5 acres onto the tax rolls!