DETROIT – Ford Motor Company has purchased the historic Michigan Central Station in Detroit's Corktown.
Matthew Moroun held a news conference Monday morning to announce his company's sale of the building. Moroun said Ford's blue oval logo will adorn the building as the automaker moves into the historic site.
There’s been speculation for months that Ford would buy the old Detroit train station and move in. Last December, Ford announced it would bring its smart tech team to the old factory it once owned in Corktown. And then in March, Local 4 confirmed Ford was doing the due diligence to buy the old train station and move more of its smart tech team in.
The auto company will announce its plans for the vacant building in a press event on June 19 at the old train station.
The last train left Michigan Central Station 30 years ago and it has stood vacant ever since, a hulking embodiment of Detroit's long decline from America's manufacturing engine to its biggest municipal bankruptcy.
The 105-year-old building that once handled all of Detroit's passenger rail traffic closed in 1988 due to a decline in ridership and took on a new life in the subsequent years as a must-see destination for urban explorers, the homeless and scavengers, who picked it clean of anything valuable.
Michigan Central Station was completed in 1913 and was a busy rail hub for decades. But as people traveled more by car and plane, demand for rail service waned. In 1986, its 3-story depot handled about 64,000 passengers, down from 82,400 the year before. It closed two years later, giving way to scavengers who stripped it of everything of value, including its wiring and plumbing.
Moroun installed new windows and working lights a few years ago, and an invitation-only gathering was held in the depot last September as part of an annual event to bring investment to Detroit.