Ford Motor Company is reportedly discussing purchasing Michigan Central Station in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood – a former train station that’s sat vacant and disused since 1988. The 500,000-square-foot former train station could house as many as 1,000 employees, according to Crain’s Detroit Business, which first broke the news. The building is located just down the street from The Factory at Corktown, which Ford purchased recently to secure office space for some 220 “Team Edison” employees working on the business and strategy of autonomous and electrified passenger vehicles.
“At this time, Ford is focused on locating our autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle business and strategy teams, including Team Edison, to The Factory in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood,” Ford Spokesperson Said Deep told Crain’s. “While we anticipate our presence over time will grow as our (autonomous/electric vehicle) teams begin moving downtown in May, we have nothing further to announce at this time.”
Michael Samhat – President of Michigan Central Station’s owner, Crown Enterprises – said that the firm doesn’t “have any deal to report” at this time. Crown, which is owned by the billionaire Moroun family, is “always working to bring an opportunity to the train station,” he says. “When we do get a serious entity looking at it, those are details we don’t share.”
The Moroun family has met with numerous groups interested in purchasing the aging property, Samhat says.
Ford’s alleged interest in the property could be rooted in its desire to woo younger employees with the promise of hip, urban work environments. But according to Crain’s, development experts who are familiar with the property have said that redeveloping Michigan Central Station would be one of the most expensive, complex projects in recent history for the Detroit area.