By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. is possibly looking to expand into Detroit with the purchase of the vacant Michigan Central Station, which Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. says is a “great thing.”
“No matter who purchases the former train station, whether its Ford or someone else, it’s a great thing,” he said. “It’s an iconic building which was critical for people using trains to get around.
The 500,000-square-foot building located at 2001 15th Street was closed in 1988 and has been owned by businessman Manuel “Matty” Moroun since 1995.
If Ford purchases the building, there is a $125 million renovation price tag alone, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“I think it’s a shame to see the building sit there when it can be transformed into something useful,” O’Reilly said. “Renovating the site and area will show we are aware and appreciate history and culture. It will reinforce who we are and how we got here.
Currently in Dearborn, Ford is completing a $1.2 billion retransformation project by adding a research and engineering center and major work on the second campus near its headquarters. The goal for Ford is to move its 30,000 employees from its current 70 buildings into the two campus locations.
O’Reilly said he isn’t worried about the impact of expanding to Detroit would have on the Dearborn Ford employees.
“The number of Ford employees that could be going to Detroit won’t impact Ford’s footprint in Dearborn,” he said. “Possible expansion into Detroit will have a good economic impact on surrounding communities because it will draw visitors to explore those cities.”
“We are excited about our return to Detroit this year with our electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle teams relocating to the Factory in Corktown,” Ford Land said in a statement when asked about the possible Central Station deal. “While we anticipate our presence over time will grow as our AV/EV teams move downtown, we have nothing further to announce at this time.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)