Michigan Central Station Renovation | Development Plans

Development

The site plan for Michigan Central envisions an inclusive, vibrant, walkable community, anchored by Detroit’s iconic train station.  It will be optimized for innovation, with flexible, tech-enabled workspaces, hands-on labs and smart infrastructure. Along with a first-of-its-kind mobility testing platform, the plan prioritizes the needs of the community with abundant green space, open plazas, biking trails, cafés, shuttles, scooters, retailers, public amenities, housing and parking all within a 20-minute walk. It will connect with the surrounding neighborhoods and the city through improved gateways and preserve the history of the area with a mix of old and new.

Michigan Central will become part of the fabric of the neighborhood, a place that is authentically Detroit, by everyone, for everyone.

Michigan Central Station Current State

Michigan Central Station

In 2018, Ford announced that it had purchased Michigan Central Station, one of Detroit’s greatest historic assets, and would restore it to its original grandeur. That station will be the centerpiece of Michigan Central and once again open to the public with locally inspired shops, restaurants, hospitality, and public amenities, in addition to modern office spaces for Ford employees and our innovation partners. Construction work on Michigan Central Station will continue until the end of 2022, with tenants expected to take occupancy in the first half of 2023.

Before and After Michigan Central

Michigan Central Station History

No other building symbolizes the past, present and future of Detroit more than Michigan Central Station. When this soaring Beaux-Arts building opened in 1913, it was the tallest train station in the world for a time and Detroit was prospering. The station’s opening coincided with the peak of rail travel in America, and with Detroit’s rise as a global leader in industry and innovation. At its busiest, the station handled 200 trains and 4,000 customers daily. As Detroit’s economy slowed, so did the traffic coming in and out of Michigan Central Station. The final train departed in 1988 and it sat abandoned until Ford became the new owner in 2018.

1912

The steel framework for Michigan Central Station is put in place, it is designed by the same architects as Grand Central Station in New York (Warren & Wetmore and Reed & Stem).

1913

Michigan Central Station opens on Dec. 26, earlier than planned due to a fire at the downtown depot. First train to leave the station is bound for Saginaw and Bay City; first train arrives from Chicago.

1916

Theodore Roosevelt visits Michigan Central Station. Three years later, and one day after his death, Detroit city council names the park in front of the station Roosevelt Park. Roosevelt is the first of several presidents to visit. Others include Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 and Harry S. Truman in 1948.

1923

Charlie Chaplin visits Michigan Central Station. He and Thomas Edison might be the most famous nonpoliticians to visit.

1940s

At its peak, Michigan Central Station serves more than 4,000 travelers a day and houses 3,000 office workers.

1967

Michigan Central Station waiting room closes; grand walnut benches sold for $25 each.

1975

Michigan Central Station added to National Register of Historic Places; waiting room is formally reopened.

1988

74 years after the first train steamed in, Train No. 353 to Chicago becomes the last train out of MCS, on January 5, at 11:30 A.M.

1995

Matty Moroun-owned Controlled Terminals Inc. acquires Michigan Central Station, unveiling restoration plan which never happens.

2009

City Council votes to demolish Michigan Central Station, but an election, budget constraints, and a lawsuit arguing for its historic merit, prevail.

2015

In a compromise with the city of Detroit, the Moroun family commits to replacing windows at Michigan Central Station.

2018

Ford purchases Michigan Central Station and announces plans to restore it as the centerpiece for a new hub for the future of mobility.

2022

Ford expects to complete construction work on Michigan Central Station by year end.

The Book Depository

The vast Book Depository will be the industrial center of Michigan Central. The Albert Kahn-designed building is being reimagined as a mixed-use maker space, offering co-working areas, hands-on labs and innovation studios. With built-in flexibility and choice as a cornerstone for the design, its large floor plans will spur connection as tenants create, learn and collaborate.

Just outside, an exterior plaza and café will connect the building with the street, open spaces and train station next door. On upper floors, a central four-story atrium will spread light through the large floor plans. 

The crown jewel of the restoration is the rooftop, which offers stunning views of Michigan Central Station, Detroit, the riverfront and Canada. A broad range of exciting amenity offerings will support year-round enjoyment of the rooftop space for tenants and guests.

The Factory

The Factory is the first Ford-owned building to open in the Michigan Central mobility innovation district.

Once home to the Chicago Hosiery and Detroit-Alaska Knitting Mills factories, it is now  the base for more than 250 members of Ford’s autonomous vehicle business and operations team.  

Ford acquired the building in May 2018, putting the company back in the city where Henry Ford first invented the assembly line a century ago.

From this hub, Ford’s AV team connects the work being done across its various test cities, along with further developing its commercialization efforts for moving people and moving goods, and expanding its customer experience and fleet management operations.

The Michigan Central Information Center is also located at The Factory but is temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Bagley Parking Hub

East of the station, Ford will build a parking garage and mobility hub at 14th and Bagley that provides 1,250 parking spots for Michigan Central workers and serves the community with a pedestrian-oriented streetscape and new public amenities. The building’s dynamic, irregular shape maximizes sunlight and will offer surprising vistas for walkers and bike riders along the future greenway connecting to the new riverfront development at Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park.

The Bagley Parking Hub will enhance street life through exterior artwork, two new public plazas, green spaces and a tree canopy. Public amenities being explored include free Wi-Fi, outdoor seating, drinking fountains, restrooms, bike storage and public parking on evenings and weekends. 

The parking structure will also serve as a mobility hub, offering micro-mobility solutions like e-bikes and scooters. A shuttle service to move workers and goods within the mobility innovation district may also support residents living in the impact area.

Mobility Platform

A first-of-its-kind mobility testing platform, in the city that put the world on wheels.

We are transforming a set of abandoned elevated railroad tracks behind Michigan Central Station into an open, versatile landscape for testing, rapid prototyping and showcasing emerging technology. A place for the public to experience new mobility solutions like scooters, e-bikes, last mile delivery services and autonomous vehicles, along with the people designing them.

The mobility platform will be a key gateway to the south entrance of train station, connecting to other public spaces, providing shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists and offering gathering spaces for the community, reconfigurable for a variety of uses.

Retail & Hospitality

The new development will be home to 1.2 million square feet of commercial space, including retail, restaurants, and hospitality. It will be a showcase that supports local arts and culture, a vibrant part of the fabric of the neighborhood, and a must-see destination that welcomes visitors from Detroit, the region, and around the world to experience the cutting-edge in both technology and culture.

Hospitality Retail Rendering

California Residents

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