A look inside a Detroit icon: Michigan Central Station

Renovations continue at historic building

DETROIT – Michigan Central Station stands empty in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, but renovations continue inside the historic building.

See photos of the inside of the station below.

Michigan Central opened in 1913 and served as a bustling transportation hub until the last train made its way through in 1988. Since then, the station has been dormant aside from occasionally being used as a scene in several music videos and movies.

The building fell victim to vandals and trespassers after its closure. With smashed windows and spray-painted walls, it became a symbol of Detroit’s decline.

Today, however, Michigan Central has windows and much of the exterior graffiti has been removed. Gardens stand behind a barbed wire fence that surrounds the massive building.

The fence is necessary to protect what’s happening inside.

The former depot now has an elevator that carries enough weight that it can be used to transport cranes and other construction items to the floors of the station, and efforts to improve the interior of the station are ongoing.

“We’re going to see the day when this building gets renovated and is open and is vibrant again,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said.

Matthew Moroun, son of the station’s owner, Manuel “Matty” Moroun, said a complete renovation of the building would cost more than $100 million.

“There’s a long way to go,” he said.

The Morouns have received many ideas for what to do with the building, but the challenge they face is finding an idea that is both a “great idea and economically viable,” the younger Moroun said.

“Our next mission is to improve the roof structures, and keep some of the water damage off the building,” he said.

Duggan talked about the views from the top floor of the station, and said he could see high-end lofts occupying the building.

Duggan and Matthew Moroun spoke about the train station's potential during a press conference to announce the fourth annual Detroit Homecoming. The event will be hosted at the station in September and will bring former Detroit residents back to the city. More information about Homecoming can be found here.

The station’s future remains uncertain, but progress is constantly being made in hopes that the great building will one day again be in use.

“We’re getting closer all the time,” Moroun said.

See photos of the inside Michigan Central Station from Local 4’s tour of the building below:


Sign up for ClickOnDetroit breaking news alerts and email newsletters

About the Author: