Detroit Building Authority


City of Detroit Public Safety Headquarters

Detroit, Michigan

420,000 sf / 39,000 m2

Architecture, Lab Planning

Sustainable Programs
LEED for New Construction & Major Renovations (NC) LEED-NC-Gold

40th Annual ESD Construction and Design Awards, Best of Michigan Construction 2014, Honor Award - Building

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The City of Detroit had two important goals for its new Public Safety Headquarters. First and foremost, it sought to create a national model for public safety integration: The facility would consolidate several facilities under one roof— housing police, fire, homeland security, a state-of-the-art forensics lab, information technology services and more—providing efficient, effective delivery of public safety services. Second, it would repurpose a former building that first served as an IRS Data Center and later, a casino, thus saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

With safety and security paramount, the new facility is adaptive to changing operational needs. It houses 700 city employees and provides the infrastructure advancements needed for the sophisticated IT systems and forensics tools that are vital for modern crime fighting. Not only did SmithGroupJJR’s new design reuse the existing shell, it also found ways to repurpose millions of dollars worth of other structural components. The high ceilings that once housed the IRS mainframe computers now provide complex HVAC, data and power systems for the forensics lab. A secure freight elevator used to transfer casino money now works to transport evidence. The design also reuses a large generator, ventilation and ductwork. The upgrades and newly insulated building envelope vastly improved energy efficiency, allowing it to become the first city of Detroit facility to earn LEED Gold certification.