Ford acquires Michigan Central Station as centerpiece for autonomous future
Ford announced that Michigan Central Station, shuttered 30 years ago, will be redeveloped over the next three to four years with the intent of attracting high-tech talent and creating a regional destination that includes modern work spaces, retail, restaurants, and residential living. Ford plans to turn the station, located in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, into a hub where the company and its partners can work on autonomous and electric vehicles, and design urban mobility services and solutions that include smart, connected vehicles, roads, parking, and public transit.
“Michigan Central Station is a place that in many ways tells the story of Detroit over the past century,” said Bill Ford, the company’s Executive Chairman. “We at Ford want to help write the next chapter, working together in Corktown with the best startups, the smartest talent, and the thinkers, engineers, and problem-solvers who see things differently—all to shape the future of mobility and transportation.”
The acquisition of Michigan Central Station comes alongside the company’s purchase of the former Detroit Public Schools Book Depository, two acres of vacant land, the site of an old brass factory, and the recent purchase of a refurbished former factory in Corktown, now home to Ford’s electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle business teams.
“What Rouge was to Ford in the industrial age, Corktown can be for Ford in the information age,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett. “It will be the proving ground where Ford and our partners design and test the services and solutions for the way people are going to live and get around tomorrow, creating a Southeast Michigan mobility corridor that spans west from Dearborn to Ann Arbor, and east to Detroit.”
Ford plans to have at least 1.2 million square feet of space in Corktown, three-quarters of which will be split between the company and its partners. Approximately 2,500 Ford employees, most from the mobility team, will call Corktown their work home by 2022, and space will be available to accommodate 2,500 additional employees of partners and other businesses. The remaining 300,000 square feet will serve as a mix of community and retail space, and residential housing.
Ford's plans for the station include restoration of the grand hall; attracting local shops and restaurants; and creating new residential options. The station will serve as a public space, with more details to come in the future.