Ford Authority

Michigan Central Gets New Leader As Construction Reaches Final Stages

Ford’s renovation of Michigan Central Station has been ongoing for years now and is nearing its final stages as the automaker invests $350 million into its future 1.2 million-square-foot innovation and mobility campus, which will ultimately host 5,000 employees. There, Ford will team up with numerous other companies on future mobility and autonomous vehicle projects, including Newlab and Google, at a complex that will consist of three separate buildings. Now, FoMoCo has chosen urban planner Joshua Sirefman as the new CEO of its Michigan Central Station subsidiary, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Sirefman currently resides in New York City but has quite a few ties to the Mitten State after attending the University of Michigan and kicking off his career in Detroit. Now, he’s returning to the place where it all began with plans to purchase a home within walking distance of the iconic facility, located in Corktown, which is scheduled to open in 2023.

Sirefman will work directly with Ford CEO Jim Farley, Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford, and Ford Fund President Mary Culler as the project inches toward completion, putting the finishing touches on work that initially began back in 2018. He “will lead the district in both its physical development and expansion of its programming, as the district enters a new phase of development in advancing its vision to help create a more accessible future for all through innovation,” according to the automaker.

Sirefman has quite a bit of experience in that space after co-founding Sidewalk Labs – Google’s arm for urban innovation. He also served as the chief of staff to the deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding and as the interim president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“There’s much more to come,” Sirefman said. “Ford’s role is to catalyze the entire endeavor to happen but it’s really creating an open platform for lots of parties to participate. It’s quite extraordinary for a company like Ford to take on such a role. I think the long-term objective for Michigan Central is to be self-sustaining. We have work to do to map out how we’re going to get there. Part of Michigan Central’s success should be defined by how much Corktown and communities in southwest Detroit feel a part of it and benefit from it and how much the impact on those communities is the result of a real and active dialogue. I’m looking forward to meeting people in all of those communities and elsewhere in Detroit.”

We’ll have more on Michigan Central Station soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Peter Dudley

    The grand opening of Detroit’s Michigan Central Station (MCS), the tallest rail passenger terminal in the world up to that time, was scheduled for the first week of January 1914. But fire broke out at Michigan Central Railroad’s 30-year-old terminal on Third Street at about 2:30 pm on December 26, 1913. By the time the old-fashioned clock tower collapsed, trains were already arriving and departing at the ultra-modern monument on 15th Street, without ceremony – everyone was too busy for any formalities.
    For more than a century, this iconic structure has reflected the changing spirit of Detroit. Despite its location, 1½ miles from Campus Martius, the new terminal was centered in a boom town – the world’s epicenter of cutting-edge automotive technology. Downtown was expected to continue expanding outward. Population growth would justify a magnificent gateway to Detroit’s glowing future.
    Railroad operations were cutting-edge, too. 28 miles of electrified track were laid on both sides of the river, including Michigan Central’s 1½-mile-long twin-tubed Detroit River Tunnel, completed in 1910. The Detroit / Windsor Electric Zone included all of the station’s tracks – sixteen passenger and express freight sidings, a 16-track stub-ended coach yard, team tracks for receiving supplies, and Michigan Central Railroad’s double-track mainline.
    Between Chicago and Buffalo, “The Niagara Falls Route” (via Detroit and southern Ontario) was actually shorter, faster, and less congested than New York Central Railroad’s “Water Level Route” (via Toledo and Cleveland).
    Electric locomotives drew power from a third rail – the same system was used at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal (GCT), which opened eleven months earlier. The same architects and engineers planned and built both stations simultaneously.
    Many of our ancestors arrived here – their new lives began aboard Depot Loop streetcars, departing from the curved Trolley Platform adjacent to the station’s East Entrance.
    Amid tearful farewells, warriors departed through the Passenger Subway toward distant battlefields – many returned to heartfelt embraces in the Main Concourse.
    After 1929, the glowing future dimmed. Gradually, the station devolved into an abandoned, monumental reminder of a future that had passed.
    The technology that spawned it ultimately ruined it.
    But the Station, along with its City, is still standing.


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