Ford buying Detroit's abandoned old train station for redevelopment

Matthew Moroun son of Michigan Central Station owner Manuel'Matty Moroun announces the sale of the historic train station to the Ford Motor Co. for redevelopment Monday

Vacant for 30 years, the 500,000 square-foot train station - designed by the same architectural firms behind Grand Central Terminal in NY and with a main waiting room built to resemble an ancient Roman bathhouse - is widely seen as a symbol of Detroit's decades-long industrial decay. "The future of the Depot is assured", wrote Matthew Moroun, son of billionaire Matty Moroun. News first leaked in March that Ford was eyeing the building, and the family transferred ownership on the building and an adjacent former schoolbook depository last month; Moroun himself told local media that Ford first approached the family about selling it in October of previous year. The depot will become a shiny symbol of Detroit's progress and its success.

Michigan Central Station long stood as a symbol of Detroit's decline. He described them as respectful and "not protracted", despite his "mixed emotions" about closing the deal.

"I knew that this was exactly what the building needed. The golden opportunity for its rebirth", he said. "The developer had to be the owner and the user".

500,000-square-foot, 18-story train station that closed in 1988. "It will be a historic day for Detroit, the auto industry and the future of Ford", according to a statement from Ford.

"Although my father and I believed in this building and Detroit, many others did not", Moroun said.

"We held strong over many years".

Moroun is seen speaking outside the station Monday. Ford says an announcement on the redevelopment is planned next week
Moroun is seen speaking outside the station Monday. Ford says an announcement on the redevelopment is planned next week

The Moroun family's Crown Enterprises Inc. has said it spent $8 million building a freight elevator in the depot's old smokestack, ridding the building of asbestos and installing more than 1,000 windows in 2015.

A gala event held inside the refurbished Michigan Central Station in September 2017. Detroit Homecoming IV was the first time the building officially opened its doors to the public since the 1980s.

"Even if the project turns out to be a disaster for Ford (and I don't think it will be), the fact that Michigan Central will finally have some competent stewardship is nearly unbelievable", added Burns.

Moroun said Ford plans to disclose details of the redevelopment soon.

The Moroun family has owned the iconic building since 1992. An announcement is planned next week, Ford said.

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