Ford Is the New Official Owner of the Iconic Michigan Central Station
'The deal is complete,' proclaimed Matthew Moroun, the son of the former, oftentimes controversial property owner.
The Michigan Central Station located in Detroit's famous Corktown will soon bear a shiny blue oval atop its iconic structure. Matthew Moroun, the son of Manuel "Matty" Moroun confirmed the sale of the property to Ford Motor Company on behalf of his family's enterprise on Monday morning.
In addition to the Michigan Central Station, the Detroit Book Depository, which is another building that became a gleaming symbol of Detroit's "ruin porn," was sold to Ford Motor Company, according to the Detroit Free Press. Despite the secretive negotiations between the automaker and the Morouns taking place as early as May of this year, things pointed to a bright future from the start given Ford's strong desire to relocate more of its operations to Detroit from neighboring Dearborn and other cities across the country.
"The deal is complete," Moroun told the Detroit Free Press. "The future of the depot is assured. The next steward of the building is the right one for its future. The depot will become a shiny symbol of Detroit's progress and its success."
The station opened its doors back in 1913 but was shut down in 1987. The Morouns purchased it in 1995. Over the years it became evident that they were more interested in selling for a profit some time in the future rather than revitalizing the structures themselves. Rumors of rehabilitation projects emerged often over the last few years, but it wasn't until March of this year that rumors about Ford's interest in several abandoned structures in the Corktown area emerged.
Back in March, we had the opportunity to talk with Tom Burns, a Corktown local who got to experience the station when it was still operating but was eventually forced to witness its demise. Burns expressed a certain level of apathy toward the way the Morouns had always treated their many properties around the Detroit and was hopeful that Ford would bring the station back to life. Needless to say, today was a good day for Burns.
"I am over the moon about Ford acquiring the Michigan Central Station," Burns told The Drive. "The building has languished in the hands of disinterested speculators for years—people who didn’t care about the surrounding community or the station at all, people who just hoarded it like a sad cache of Beanie Babies. But, with Ford taking over the property, it guarantees two things: that the structure itself will be preserved and restored, and that the building is no longer owned by a family that was content to let it rot for 30 years."
Next week, Ford expects to reveal more details about its plans for the two buildings. For now, we do know that the automaker expects to accelerate the development of advanced automotive technologies such as autonomy and electric powerplants at its current and future Detroit campuses.
Neither the Morouns nor Ford has disclosed the sale price for the two properties at the time of publication.
"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 almost unbelievable," added Burns. "I am so grateful that Ford made this investment in Detroit, and my old neighborhood, and I can’t wait to see what they do with it."