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Date is Set: Michigan Central to Re-Open in Corktown After 36 Years

February 20, 2024

Photo credit: Stephen McGee

The Detroit News
Feb. 19, 2024
Sarah Rahal

The city’s historic train station is setting up for a grand re-opening and the date is set.

After sunset Monday, “06.06.24” could be seen from Michigan Avenue on the facade of the station that first opened its doors over a century ago. The historic depot was shuttered 1988 — only visited by film crews like the “Transformers,” building owners that replaced windows and urban explorers who ignored the no trespassing signs.

It’s been nearly six years since Ford Motor Co. purchased the depot for $90 million in June 2018 from the billionaire Moroun family and began renovating the 110-year-old Beaux-Arts depot for a mobility tech campus that includes other buildings in Corktown, such as the adjacent former Book Depository building that’s now known as NewLab. That renovated building opened in April 2023.

In 2018, Ford hosted tours of the 20-story tower over multiple days that had hours-long wait times before a full renovation commenced. The automaker initially said its renovation of the train station and other buildings in the new Corktown campus would cost $740 million. It’s unclear what Ford has actually spent on the project.

Michigan Central issued a statement to The News: “We know Detroit and the world are eager to see how we’ve brought Michigan Central Station back to life. We are excited to show the first glimpse of the station on June 6, 2024, as we open its doors once again.”

Josh Sirefman, CEO of Michigan Central, the Ford entity charged with operating the mobility campus in Corktown, has previously said they anticipate to re-open in the summer and even praised the idea of returning passenger rail to the station.

A future train stop might operate near the Innovation Center or somewhere in or near the 30 acres of Corktown that Ford calls its campus, according to a proposed vision document by Amtrak obtained by The Detroit News and confirmed by VIA Rail Canada, Michigan Department of Transportation and Mayor Mike Duggan’s office.

Still, officials insisted the idea is at such an early stage that it is almost too soon to discuss publicly.

Last June, Roosevelt Park re-opened in front of the train station after undergoing a $6 million upgrade and expansion. The upgrades include eliminating the streets that split the park in the middle.

The park is now unified and full of new green spaces and wide paths.

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