DETROIT – Many anticipate Ford Motor Company's plans for Michigan Central Station to transform Detroit's Corktown neighborhood.
Ford's acquisition of the long-abandoned and iconic Detroit train station may do well to recruit young professionals to the area, but its true economic impact on the neighborhood will be measured long-term. At the very least, Detroiters will get to see new life breathed into a historic building that first opened way back in 1914, when Detroit was barely known as the Motor City.
Tuesday's news conference (or celebration) in front of the 18-story station that shut down in 1988 is 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."
On Tuesday, we expect to see just how far Ford plans to go to make this more than just a restored building. More renderings are expected to show the station's Central Hall open to the public with a grand hallway featuring cafes and coffeehouses. It's not expected to be a closed corporate campus.
Watch it all live right here starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.