Southwest Detroit sees development boom amid renovations at Michigan Central Station

Ford building mixed-use community in Corktown

DETROIT – Southwest Detroit is seeing a development boom as the area prepares for new neighbors.

Ford Motor Co. is renovating Michigan Central Station. The automaker plans on creating a campus that will consist of about 1.2 million square feet of property in Corktown.

WATCH: Video shows Ford's vision for Detroit's Michigan Central Station, Corktown

Just behind the historic train depot, another area is experiencing an influx of growth.

A $16 million project will bring 60 new apartment units, retail space and parking to an area known as 16th and Bagley. It's just one project popping up in the area.

Ken Koehler, the co-owner of the Honey Bee La Colmena on Bagley, said he never expected to see Ford moving into the area.

"When we were building the new portion in 2006, that's when things weren't doing so well, and at the time many, many people thought we were crazy," he said. "Now we have this beautiful project going up across the street here."


Clifford Brown, with developer Woodborn Partners, said the project intends to accent what is already in the area.

"We want to help them transform or continue to accent. We don't want to disrespect the people who are already in these neighborhoods," he said.

Rendering of Southwest Detroit development (WDIV)
Rendering of Southwest Detroit development (WDIV)

Plans unveiled for mixed-use Southwest Detroit development

The site, currently vacant land, sits adjacent to the Michigan Central Station and other neighborhood landmarks.

The $16 million project will build 60 new apartment units, add 5,000 square feet of retail along Bagley and 40 parking spaces, which will be hidden behind the new structure. The development aims to build upon the strengths of the Bagley Street commercial corridor and enhance connectivity between the two neighborhoods. The four-story development will also include outdoor amenities that will connect to the planned May Creek Greenway.

“As the city’s revitalization spreads into the neighborhoods, we are focused on developing high-quality and affordable mixed-use projects that fit in with the existing culture of the neighborhood,” said Donald Rencher, director of Housing and Revitalization for the City of Detroit. “Woodborn Partners are well-suited to fill in this gap in a thriving neighborhood, and we know that they will work with the city and residents to make sure the project meets the needs of community.”


Ford creating Corktown campus

Ford's electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle business teams moved into a building at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Rosa Parks Boulevard earlier this year, and the company recently purchased Michigan Central Station, the former Detroit Public Schools Book Depository, two acres of vacant land and the site of an old brass factory.

Ford is planning on creating a campus that will consist of about 1.2 million square feet of property in Corktown. The mixed-use space will feature office space, retail space and residential housing. The company plans to locate about 2,500 employees, mostly from its mobility team, to the space by 2022.

PHOTOS: Ford Motor Company shares peek at plans for Michigan Central Station, Corktown

The new developments, including the one at MCS, will also have room to accommodate 2,500 more employees of partners and other businesses, Ford said.


The company plans to keep the lobby open to the public. The space will likely have markets and shops.

A rendering of future Michigan Central Station plans from Ford Motor Company.
A rendering of future Michigan Central Station plans from Ford Motor Company.