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Ford starts revealing plans for Michigan Central Station and Corktown

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The lobby will be open this weekend

Ford envisions the restoration of the main lobby in Michigan Central Station as a community gathering spot including a variety of local retail and restaurants offerings.
Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ahead of Tuesday’s big press conference, Ford is releasing some information about its plans for Michigan Central Station, Corktown, and Detroit. More plans will be detailed this week; for now, here’s what we know.

Drawing of a lit up train station in the background
Roosevelt Park leading up to Michigan Central Station.
Courtesy Ford Motor Company

The Corktown campus will be an “an innovation hub for Ford’s vision for the future of transportation.” The company is expecting the square footage of its Corktown campus to run 1.2 million square feet (with Michigan Central Station taking up 600,000). 900,000 of that is expected to be used by Ford and its partners, with 300,000 of that for community space, retail, and housing.

Properties acquired to date are:

  • The Factory (1907 Michigan Avenue), where over 200 employees have already started working,
  • Michigan Central Station,
  • The Book Depository at 2231 Dalzelle Street,
  • And land near the old Tiger Stadium, now home to the Police Athletic League complex.

The company is giving itself a four-year timeline to complete the campus. By completion, it expects 2,500 Ford employees working in Corktown, with another 2,500 partner employees in the Corktown campus.

A Market Hall experience—open to the community—is part of Ford’s vision for Michigan Central Station.
Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

“Michigan Central Station is a powerful symbol of Detroit’s struggles and now its resurgence, but Ford’s investment in Corktown is far from symbolic,” said Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman. “We aren’t just making a bet on Detroit. We are making a big bet on the future for Ford and the future of transportation. It’s exciting to imagine what’s possible as we build tomorrow, together.”

The Detroit News reports on how Corktown fits into Ford’s bigger mobility plans, saying,

The company’s goal is to establish its Corktown site at the east end of an evolving mobility corridor evoking Michigan Avenue’s earlier road to the Arsenal of Democracy. The campus would be a critical node in a circuit running from Detroit through Ford’s Dearborn headquarters, to Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the American Center for Mobility at Willow Run, ending at University of Michigan research sites.

Ford is not saying how much they paid for the building or the potential renovation costs at this time, but they will be seeking tax incentives for the project.

Ford will livestream the big announcement on Tuesday. Yes, there’s a countdown to the event on that page.

And for the first time in many, many years, the train station will be open to the public. Ford is hosting an open house June 22-24. More details to come on Tuesday.

Tuesday looks to be quite a historic day in Detroit.

Michigan Central Station

2198 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216