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Ford Unveils Plans for 30-Acre Redevelopment of Michigan Central Station in Detroit

Michigan Central Station will serve as Ford’s factory to work on autonomous and electric vehicles, as well as design urban mobility services and solutions that includes smart, connected vehicles, roads, parking and public transit.

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has unveiled its plans for Michigan Central Station, a 30-acre redevelopment in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. The project will entail four buildings — Michigan Central Station, the Book Depository, Building West and The Factory — which are slated for completion throughout 2022. In addition, there will be a 1,250-space parking deck dubbed Bagley Parking Hub.

The train station was originally built in 1913 and has sat vacant since 2012. Ford acquired the site and initially announced the project in June 2018. Project costs were not disclosed.

Ford plans to house 5,000 employees at the site. The campus will serve as a factory to work on autonomous and electric vehicles, as well as design urban mobility services and solutions that includes smart, connected vehicles, roads, parking and public transit.

“This project is about preparing Ford for another century of innovation and success,” says Mary Culler, Ford’s Detroit development director and Ford Fund president. “At Michigan Central, we are taking a collaborative approach to innovation, including providing flexible workspaces that attract and engage the best minds to solve complex transportation and related challenges as we shape the future of mobility together.”

Practice for Architecture and Urbanism is the lead architect for the redevelopment. Construction is currently underway at Michigan Central Station, which will feature pedestrian and biking paths, test sites for Ford’s technology and open public spaces. Boston-based Mikyoung Kim Design is the lead landscape architect for the project.

Gensler is designing the Book Depository, which sits adjacent to the train station and will be transformed into coworking space as well as labs and innovation studios. A new rooftop space will be available year-round for both tenants and guests. Designed by famed Detroit architect Albert Kahn, the building dates back to the 1920s and formerly housed surplus equipment for Detroit Public Schools.

“The revitalized building is designed to meet the demands of a shifting hybrid workforce — tenants with high expectations when it comes to shared amenities, access to wellness resources and opportunities for connection,” says Lily Diego, design director at Gensler’s Detroit office. “The interiors will be highly flexible, adaptable and versatile, where anything from walls and panels to furniture and fixtures can be flipped, moved or repurposed to support a multiplicity of uses so workers can most effectively engage with the space and one another.”

Ford expects to break ground on the Book Depository and Bagley Parking Hub in first-quarter 2021, with both buildings expected to open in early 2022.

— Alex Tostado

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