Deal of the Year 2018 — Midwest: Michigan Finance Authority

Wayne County, Michigan's $288 million sale for its new $500 million criminal justice complex in Detroit marked a milestone for the previously distressed government, paving the way for another high-profile display of Detroit's revival.

The road leading to the August issue was fraught with hurdles dating back nearly a decade to the first jail issue of recovery zone bonds. The project stalled due to the county's deep fiscal strains, cost overruns and the bonds facing an IRS audit. A fiscal emergency was eventually declared and the county entered a consent decree with the state.

As the county worked to regain its fiscal health, it resurrected the jail project. Looking for the best rates, the county worked with state officials to establish a state aid intercept backing for counties through the Michigan Finance Authority. The IRS cleared the path by allowing the use of the remaining bond proceeds without penalty.

After overcoming an 11th hour lawsuit from a civic group, Wayne returned to the market after an eight year hiatus with its fiscal house in better shape, its investment grade ratings restored, and an intercept that helped draw buyers. The complex is scheduled to open in 2022.