Ford has made considerable progress at its Michigan Central Station revamp over the past few years as it aims to transform the historic site into a mobility hub for the future. In recent months, the automaker has restored the Book Depository building that will soon house a company called Newlab, added a third building for additional office space, and partnered with Google for autonomous vehicle research and training efforts, all while selling off more than two dozen other Michigan based properties. Most recently, 20th Street Properties LLC – which lists lists Ford Land Development Co. Chair and CEO Jim Dobleske as its officer – also purchased six properties in the Corktown area near Michigan Central earlier this year, and now, FoMoCo has bought a historic church near the site, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.
Originally known as St. Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church, this location was most recently owned by Assemble Sound, a record label and management company. The automaker plans to remove the structure and restore its steeple with help from Detroit and the Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department in an effort to preserve the historic church, but it hasn’t yet revealed what it will be used for once that process is complete. Ford reportedly paid $1.5 million for the church, along with two other properties located near Michigan Central Station at 17th Street and Rose Street.
“Though we are not actively looking to acquire additional properties around Michigan Central, we felt this historic church was an important exception,” said Catherine Kelly, head of communications and editorial for Michigan Central Station. “Like the previous owners at Assemble Sound, we were deeply concerned about the long-term status of this 19th Century church and believe it to be an important piece of our neighborhood’s history. Like our neighbors, we want to see it preserved, and we are going to do everything we can to do so.”
“In the conversations that ensued after we approached Josh Sirefman and the Michigan Central Station team, it became clear that they saw the value of honoring the history of these buildings, something they’ve made so evident in the visionary work they’ve done at the Book Depository and Train Depot,” said Garret Koehler, managing partner at Assemble Sound. “We can’t wait to see their team give a historic building that has meant so much to so many people the love it needs and deserves. The property was instrumental in Assemble Sound turning our initial vision into a reality, and that reality will live on in a new location we’re excited to announce next year.”