By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The red ribbon was cut Oct. 10 on Ford Motor Co’s. latest development, the mixed-use Wagner Place in downtown west Dearborn.
Part of the $60 million project includes restaurants, retail and green space along with offices for Ford employees, and restoring the 120-year-old Wagner Hotel.
“The name for the Wagner Place came from two places,” Ford Land Director, Sales, Leasing and Development Doug Van Noord said. “‘Wagner,’ for the historic Wagner Hotel and ‘Place,’ for placemaking.”
Over the past few weeks, Ford has moved 600 employees from its global data insights and analytics division into Wagner Place.
The 150,000-square-foot project will house a breakfast and lunch restaurant called The Great Commoner in the former hotel and Eleanor’s Café, Modern Greek Orangetheory Fitness, Salad Bar, Paradise Briyani Pointe Indian Cuisine and Yogurtown in the west side. City Barbeque and Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant & Brewery will be on the east side.
Forty percent of the retail space is unoccupied with rent in the low $30s per square foot. With retail and restaurants on the first floor, the office space on the next two floors and a rooftop terrace is at the top of the building.
Van Noord explained that the plans for the green space behind the building are art shows, outdoor concerts, fairs and to encourage visitors and employees to go out into the community.
“We’re really excited about the development and opening because we believe it will be a positive catalyst for other development in the downtown,” he said. “Also, we’re thrilled for our Ford employees to have their space and the green space area to create a communal area.”
Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. praised the work done on the project and the restoration of the former Wagner Hotel building.
“This project represents the evolution of our city and we’re all looking forward to the new businesses, customers and ability to bring people together,” he said.
The $3 million, 373-spot public parking structure sits behind the Wagner Place at West Village Drive and Monroe Street and was constructed by the city with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund. The parking structure will be available for Ford employees and customers.
An overall $18 million investment was 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.
Creating the Wagner Place development did not happen overnight. Six months of planning and secret meetings between Ford Land and the city took place before an agreement was reached. The groundbreaking took place on May 3, 2017, and construction began on the project and the Wagner Hotel, which was vacant for 10 years before Ford stepped in.
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])