Ownership of Detroit’s Michigan Central Station – a disused former train station in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood that Ford has confirmed an interest in – has apparently changed hands, with ownership passing to an unknown company that could have ties to Ford. The Detroit Free Press made the connection due to the fact the property’s new owner has the same New York street address as a law firm that’s represented Ford Motor Credit Company in the past. A warranty deed, recorded May 23rd, officially transferred ownership from MCS Crown Land Development Co. LLC to New Investment Properties I LLC, the Free Press reports.
Another company, New Investment Properties II LLC, took ownership of the former Detroit Public Schools book depository building nextdoor to the train station, also from the Maroun land company. Both LLCs are new companies, having filed for organization with the state on February 27th and March 1st, respectively.
A Ford deal to purchase Michigan Central Station has been in the works for some time, but the automaker has not confirmed whether a deal has gone through. Company spokesperson Said Deep did say that Ford is “very excited about our return to Detroit this year beginning with our electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle teams relocating to a historic former factory in Corktown. We expect to grow our presence in Detroit and will share more details in the future.”
Ford’s interest in relocating many of its employees to Detroit stems partly from a desire to woo young talent with offices in a trendy, urban area, as well as partly from a practical need to immerse its autonomy employees in exactly the sort of urban city they’re aiming to transform. Not everyone is 100% onboard with Ford’s efforts to acquire and transform the former train station, however, and after the company’s annual shareholder meeting this month, it faced a particularly tough question from an investor:
Given the Company’s dismal stock performance, please explain how the purchase of an abandoned train depot will add to shareholder value. If Ford does buy the Detroit Rail Station building in Detroit, will the building be devoted to just Ford or will parts of the building be leased out to other tenants?