There’s been so much coverage about the sale of Michigan Central Station to Ford Motor Company, in both local and national outlets, that it’s been difficult keep up. We’ve got you covered with a news roundup about the most important information you need to know.
First, you might want some background on Michigan Central Station, its design and construction, history, abandonment, and eventual purchase by Matty Moroun. This article from the Detroit News covers the basics. Or you can go into greater detail at Historic Detroit.
The New York Times wrote a piece that covers the major contours of the purchase, and its significance to Ford and the city of Detroit. “Ford sees the move as part of the race for supremacy in the next automotive era.”
That sentiment is echoed in an article for Atlantic’s CityLab, titled “Ford’s Detroit Investments Are Bigger Than a Train Station,” that begins by noting how automobile companies are rebranding themselves as mobility companies. “Ford CEO Jim Hackett expressed a vision for the Corktown campus to serve as a hotbed for start-ups, investors, and other ‘partners’ in the self-driving vehicle space.”
Car and Driver Magazine and Curbed Detroit detailed some of the plans Ford has in store for the train station, Corktown neighborhood, Roosevelt Park, and Michigan Avenue. Ford not only purchased the station, but also the nearby Book Depository, The Factory, and land near the old Tiger Stadium. “In all, Ford expects to have up to 1.2 million square feet of office space in the area — enough room for 2,500 Ford employees and another 2,500 employees of partner companies.”
At the redeveloped station, there will certainly be lots of offices and a lobby with commercial space. But according to the Detroit Free Press, Ford plans to build housing as well.
We also encourage you to read this column from Kirk Pinho at Crain’s Detroit Business, where he urges Ford not to make the station into a “corporate island” like it did with the Renaissance Center.
“It was just six years removed from the 1967 Detroit uprising when construction began, and it was built like a damn fortress, complete with its own ZIP code. It might as well be in Sanilac, as isolated as it was from downtown by Jefferson Avenue and its eight lanes of traffic, not to mention the median separating the artery eastbound and westbound.”
The impact of the sale and subsequent redevelopment of Michigan Central Station on Detroit will be profound. This is just the beginning. We’ll continue to keep you up to date on developments in the near future and coming years.