Michigan Central Station More Expensive Than Many Thought, Costing Ford $90M

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The 104-year-old former train station that Ford Motor Company bought in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood set the automaker back a total of $90 million, according to a disclosure on Detroit’s property sales history page, uncovered by Crain’s Detroit Business. At that price, Ford paid $150 per square foot for the 600,000-square-foot Michigan Central Station – a tremendous rate for a decrepit building that was planned for demolition as recently as 2009.

“DAMN!!!!!” said Dennis Bernard – Founder and President of local commercial mortgage banking firm Bernard Financial Group – in an email to Crain’s. He was evidently surprised by the cost.

The exact price tag of Michigan Central Station has been the subject of curiosity from pundits and those working in commercial real estate for some time. Ford sees the iconic landmark and other hip locations like it as important tools with which to lure talented young employees away from competing automakers and tech companies in Silicon Valley. It will serve as the central focus for a new Ford Motor Company campus in Detroit, which will be paid for – at least in part – with some of the money that the automaker had intended to invest into completely revitalizing its Dearborn campus.

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Ford Michigan Central Station main hall rendering featured

Ford closed the deal to purchase Michigan Central Station from the prominent Maroun family in May of this year. According to Crain’s, the building is expected to house some 313,000 square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of event space, 43,000 square feet of commercial space, and 42,000 square feet of residential space, split up into about 40 units. Rehabilitating and building out the former train station will first involve sealing it against the elements, drying it out, and replacing its many windows with something more period-correct.

The nearby former Detroit Public Schools book depository is expected to be turned into 205,000 additional square feet of office space, along with 20,000 square feet of commercial space.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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3 Comments

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  1. Again, the Ford geniuses at work. No wonder why they cannot build cars profitably, too busy wasting money, and not doing their homework. No more Fords for me.

  2. Whilst it was nice to preserve such a landmark, the money that will sink into this does not make it a viable option for struggling automaker FORD.

    Oh well. Not my money!

  3. This purchase would been better served that all auto manufacturers bought into. Revitalize the building and city and make it a learning & design center for the young designers and engineers. Auto companies investing in the future. One problem, what young college age kids would want to move there? Free college education, probably.

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