Michigan Central Station long stood as a symbol of Detroit’s decline. Now, thanks to Ford, it could represent Detroit’s return.
Today at a press conference in front of the Detroit icon, it was announced that Ford’s bid to purchase the train depot was accepted and the deal was done. The large building will be at the center of Ford’s move to turn Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood into its automotive technology groups campus.
“The deal is complete,” Matthew Moroun, whose family has owned the station since 1995, said at today’s event. “The future of the depot is assured. The next steward of the building is the right one for its future. The depot will become a shiny symbol of Detroit’s progress and its success.
This deal was Detroit’s worst-kept secrets. It’s been known about for months. It will bring life to the desolate Corktown area, which though right next to the thriving downtown core, has yet to feel much love from Detroit’s rebirth. Amtrak last used the station in 1988 and it has since changed hands several times.
This deal has the potential to change Detroit. The downtown core is already experiencing a revival in business and culture but so far the surrounding neighborhoods have struggled to keep up. Corktown has ample room for new housing and businesses and redeveloping Michigan Central Station would throw the neighborhood the attention and money it needs to grow.
This would be Ford’s second recent investment in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. At the beginning of the year Ford announced it would put 200 employees in The Factory, a building less than a half a mile from Michigan Central Station. A redeveloped train station could house 1,000 Ford workers. Ford currently houses most of its employees in facilities around the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.