Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ford could change Detroit by buying its defunct train station

According to this report, Ford is pursuing a deal to purchase the abandoned Michigan Central Station. Located just outside downtown Detroit, the massive transit station has set empty for about 30 years and recently became a symbol representing a decaying Detroit.

Crain’s is reporting that the deal between Ford and the current owner, the Moroun family, could be announced as soon as next month.

This would be Ford’s second recent investment in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. Three months ago 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.

This neighborhood is just outside the downtown core of Detroit. Amtrack last used the station in 1988 and it has since changed hands several times. It’s currently owned by the Moroun family which spent more than $8 million on the building installing more than 1,100 windows and adding a freight elevator.

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.

Now if only Detroit and its metro area could get serious about public transit.