21 Jun 18

Abandoned Detroit station to become Ford's mobility hub

Ford Motor Company has acquired Michigan Central Station in Detroit, with the aim of housing its various mobility ventures in the 18-storey building. 

The giant train station was once a potent symbol of Detroit's industrial might. After its closure in 1988 and subsequent abandonment, its ruined husk became a sad token of Motor City's steep decline. Now it could become not just an example of Detroit's revitalisation, but an important engine for the emergent urban renewal. 

For many Detroiters, the purchase is an emotional moment: a sign that their city has finally turned a corner and put its darkest days behind itself. The news even prompted the person who stole the station's antique clock to return it last week. 

Over the next three to four years, Ford plans to restore the building and make it a centre for its activities in autonomous driving, public transit projects, parking experiments and other innovative mobility ventures. 

If all goes according to schedule, Michigan Central and surrounding locations (including the equally dilapidated Detroit Public Schools Book Depository) will house around 2,500 Ford employees working on its various mobility projects, and an equal number of workers in related businesses. 

Authored by: Frank Jacobs