Bill Ford Jr.: Train station restoration is signal Detroit is 'open for business, for good'
Ford to move mobility teams into renovated Michigan Central Station
DETROIT – Bill Ford Jr. announced Tuesday that his Ford Motor Company will move all of its mobility teams to a long-vacant train station in Detroit.
Ford spoke during a celebratory event in front of the century-old Michigan Central Station in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood.
"We plan to renovate the Grand Hall and make it majestic again," said Ford.
That includes making it a public space. Ford said a modern workspace is planned for the 18-story tower. The automaker will restore it all in an environmentally-friendly way, he said.
When its finished, Ford believes it will be a symbol of good things to come for the city.
"A signal that Detroit is open for business, for good," he said.
Tuesday's news conference (or celebration) in front of the 18-story station that shut down in 1988 was expected to draw 5,000 people, a testament to the excitement and intrigue the region has for such an investment in Detroit. The building has sat vacant for 30 years under control of the Moroun family. Billionaire Manuel "Matty" Moroun bought the building in the 1990s. His family also owns the nearby Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.
As Matty's son, Matthew Moroun, announced the sale of the 500,000-square-foot structure, that once was see-through, he assured media members his family saved the building by owning it for the past few decades. That's despite how it became the symbol for a blighted Detroit.
But the prospect of a new symbol for Detroit would convince even the most skeptical that the Morouns were waiting for the right moment, and for the right buyer.
"The next steward of the building is the right one for its future," Moroun said. "The depot will become a shiny symbol of Detroit's progress and its success."
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