Michigan Central Station, long a building used in media for urban ruin photography and a sore point in Detroit’s transformation, may have found a buyer from current owners, the Moroun family.
The surprise buyer: Ford Motor Company
On the heals of Ford moving 200 employees into The Factory nearby, Crain’s Detroit is reporting the iconic, long-empty Michigan Central Station may be bought by the automaker in order to find more workspace for younger, urban-loving employees.
If you have never heard of the building, you most likely have seen it anyway. The building was used as a backdrop in Transformers and Batman vs. Superman.
This would not be the first Ford building announcement as of late. Last year, Ford announced plans to completely overall their Dearborn office compounds, including the Glass House.
Purchasing and redeveloping Michigan Central Station would be their biggest undertaking yet. Recent reports about the 500,000 square foot former train station have said it would take over $1 billion to upgrade and restore the building, albeit with several hundred million for train tracks for future transportation needs.
Detroit and Moroun family have been searching for a partner to redevelop the building for the past several years now, but likely the scale and cost have kept others at bay.
The train station would be the largest redevelopment project in Detroit’s transformation yet, which has seen nearly every empty building downtown announced or completed redevelopment in the past several years. This would be first redevelopment through Ford.
This is not the first time Michigan Central Station has been targeted by Ford. 100 years ago, Ford started to buy land around the station for development before the Great Depression cut the plans.
If the deal goes through, it could bring over 1,000 workers to Corktown, the near-Downtown Detroit neighborhood. It would likely lead to further redevelopment in the area, saving further historic buildings and being the biggest centerpiece to Detroit’s turnaround.
More on the story can be found at Crain’s Detroit.