By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — After months of planning and secret meetings between Ford Land and the city, the Wagner Place project was made official during a groundbreaking May 3.
Ford Motor Co. is investing $60 million in downtown west Dearborn to create offices for employees, new restaurants and retail, green space and outdoor seating for all to enjoy.
“This project had six months of planning and meetings in secret before it was announced,” Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said. “We brought in multiple departments from the city to work with Ford Land on the project.”
He also ensured that residents and visitors of downtown west Dearborn will be thrilled with Wagner Place once it is completed.
“It brings the past to the future with the perseveration of the former Wagner Hotel,” O’Reilly said. “This is a great partnership with Ford to reinvigorate their campus and image as well as attract more development to the city.”
Gov. Rick Snyder praised the Wagner Place project and said developments in downtowns is the future of Michigan as a state.
“Young people will be attracted to developed downtown areas,” he said, “Projects like the Wagner Place are not just good for now but for decades to comeDearborn is a wonderful community that will continue to flourish. The project is a role model for other communities across the state.”
The 120-year-old former Wagner Hotel will be restored as part of the project and scheduled for completion by mid-2018. Property designs along the two blocks of current vacant buildings will feature varying rooflines, windows, awnings and green space.
Office space for 600 Ford Motor Co. global data insights and analytics employees will occupy Wagner Place. The first floor will have retail and restaurants, two floors of work space and a rooftop patio.
The 150,000-square-foot development will be certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design with resource-efficient with water and energy conservation features.
“Developing an urban office environment positions Ford to offer a work setting that will appeal to a new generation of employees,” Ford Land Chairman and CEO Dave Dubensky said. “Wagner Place supports our goals to create a more collaborative and inviting campus atmosphere for all employees.”
A $3 million, 373-spot public parking structure near Wagner Place at West Village Drive and Monroe Street is being constructed by the city with the support from the Michigan Strategic Fund. The parking structure will be available for Ford employees and customers.
An overall $18 million investment is being made by the city in the downtown area through funding from Brownfield Redevelopment Authority by adding utility improvements and streetscaping elements to enhance the project and the area.
The entire Wagner Place investment is part of Ford’s 10-year redevelopment plan to relocate employees from 70 buildings into two campuses. Employees will work from the world headquarters campus and a new product campus.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)