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Ford Acquires Iconic Michigan Central Station as Centerpiece of New Detroit Campus to Usher in Ford's Smart, Connected Future


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  • Ford has acquired the iconic Michigan Central Station and plans to
    transform it into the centerpiece of a vibrant new campus in Detroit's
    Corktown neighborhood that will serve as an innovation hub for Ford's
    vision for the future of transportation
  • The Corktown campus is a place where Ford and its partners will work
    on autonomous and electric vehicle businesses, and design solutions
    for a new transportation operating system that makes mobility more
    convenient and accessible through smart, connected vehicles, roads,
    parking and public transit
  • Corktown will be part of a Ford mobility corridor running from Ann
    Arbor to Dearborn to Detroit. It's also the latest node in Ford's
    research network stretching from Palo Alto to Germany to China. Ford's
    plan to redesign its Dearborn campus will continue in parallel with
    the Corktown campus development
  • Michigan Central Station, shuttered 30 years ago, will be redeveloped
    over the next three to four years into a magnet for high-tech talent
    and a regional destination with modern work spaces, retail,
    restaurants, residential living and more

Ford's Highland Park plant helped create America's middle class. At
Willow Run, Ford workers built the planes and tanks that helped win
World War II, setting the stage for American prosperity. Generations of
families have worked at the 100-year-old Rouge factory, putting the
world on wheels and helping grow the middle class.

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Ford has acquired the iconic Michigan Central Station and plans to transform it into the centerpiece ...

Ford has acquired the iconic Michigan Central Station and plans to transform it into the centerpiece of a vibrant new campus in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood that will serve as an innovation hub for Ford's vision for the future of transportation. (Photo: Business Wire)

Now, as the company ushers in its next era, Ford adds Detroit's Corktown
neighborhood to that transformative list. The new Corktown campus will
be a hub where Ford and its partners will work on autonomous and
electric vehicles, and design urban mobility services and solutions that
includes smart, connected vehicles, roads, parking and public transit.

In a week in which the company celebrated its 115th
anniversary, Ford today formally announced the acquisition of Michigan
Central Station. Ford employees, city and state officials, Corktown
residents and Detroit civic leaders attended the ceremony at the iconic
former train station.

"Michigan Central Station is a place that in many ways tells the story
of Detroit over the past century," said Bill Ford, the company's
executive chairman. "We at Ford want to help write the next chapter,
working together in Corktown with the best startups, the smartest
talent, and the thinkers, engineers, and problem-solvers who see things
differently – all to shape the future of mobility and transportation."

The acquisition of Michigan Central Station comes alongside the
company's purchase of the former Detroit Public Schools Book Depository,
two acres of vacant land, the site of an old brass factory and the
recent purchase of a refurbished former factory in Corktown, now home to
Ford's electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle business teams.

"What Rouge was to Ford in the industrial age, Corktown can be for Ford
in the information age," said Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett. "It
will be the proving ground where Ford and our partners design and test
the services and solutions for the way people are going to live and get
around tomorrow, creating a Southeast Michigan mobility corridor that
spans west from Dearborn to Ann Arbor, and east to Detroit."

Ford plans to have at least 1.2 million square feet of space in
Corktown, three-quarters of which will be split between the company and
its partners. Approximately 2,500 Ford employees, most from the mobility
team, who will call Corktown their work home by 2022 – with space to
accommodate 2,500 additional employees of partners and other businesses.
The remaining 300,000 square feet will serve as a mix of community and
retail space, and residential housing. This project is supported by our
strong partnership with state and local government officials.

Development of Michigan Central Station and other Corktown locations is
critical to Ford's future as the company continues learning how urban
areas are changing and the role transportation plays in revitalizing
cities. Being in the heart of America's comeback city will help attract
talent, startups and engineers that want to address these issues with

At the same time, Ford is continuing with its Dearborn Campus
Transformation plan that started in 2016. This summer the 150,000-square-foot
Wagner Place development
in West Dearborn is on track to open, as is
a new driving dynamics lab located on Ford's Product Development Campus.
The 10-year Dearborn plan will also continue to bring key work groups
closer together, including the company's product development teams to
one campus.

Preparing smart vehicles for a smart world

As cities cope with booming populations, aging infrastructure and new
technology, the way people move is changing rapidly. Rather than simply
integrating new technology into an aging transportation system, Ford's
vision includes a fresh approach for how the overall transportation
system can benefit from new ideas that help people lead better and more
productive lives.

The future of transportation requires more than new vehicles – or even
self-driving vehicles. It requires smart vehicles that can communicate
with an increasingly smart and connected world. That's why Ford is
developing a Transportation Mobility Cloud – an open platform that
manages information flow and transactions between different services –
to help cities optimize their various modes of transit. The company is
also committed to ensuring vehicles can communicate with tech-enabled
surroundings to reduce CO2, lower congestion, and improve safety.

In Corktown, Ford's efforts can come together in an urban environment,
proving-out technology in the same environment where new ideas must be
applied. This campus has the potential to help return Detroit to being
the "mobility capital of the world" – shaping the future of
transportation for the better.

"This will be the kind of campus where the emerging economy thrives – a
collaborative ecosystem of companies, educators, investors, and
innovators," Hackett said. "This is where part of our team will live and
work as a part of this community, alongside the customers and neighbors
whose lives we're trying to make better."

Working for the community

While Ford's Corktown investments are crucial to the company's long-tern
planning, it is also represents a commitment to the city of Detroit and
its future, with Michigan Central Station envisioned as a beacon of
development and opportunity.

Ford's plans for the station to include restoration of the grand hall to
its original luster; attraction of local shops and restaurants; and
creating new residential options in the up-and-coming neighborhood. The
station will serve as a public space for people to enjoy, with more
details to come in the future. Ford is committed to working with
Corktown residents and businesses to make certain its development
efforts align with the historic nature of the community and complement
other planned developments to revitalize the neighborhood.

"Just as Dearborn does, Corktown holds a special place in my heart,"
said Bill Ford. "Henry Ford was the son of an immigrant. His father,
William Ford, came over from Cork during Ireland's potato famine. And
Corktown was a destination for immigrants like him who came here with
little more than hope. It was a place where you could reimagine what's
possible. That's what we want to do all over again, right here in
Corktown – to build tomorrow, together."

Ford thanks the Moroun family, the long-time owners of Michigan Central
Station, for their support in making this project possible.

Michigan Central Station, designed by the same architects that designed
New York's Grand Central Station, was the main intercity passenger rail
depot in Detroit. Built for the Michigan Central Railroad, it replaced
the original depot in downtown Detroit, which was shuttered after a
major fire in December 1913. Formally dedicated on Jan. 4, 1914, the
station remained open for business until the cessation of Amtrak service
on Jan. 6, 1988. With a train depot and 13-story office tower with a
roof height of 230 feet, it was the world's tallest rail station when

Before renovations begin, Ford is offering the public a chance to attend
an open house at Michigan Central Station from June 22-24. Highlights of
this complimentary tour include:

  • Exhibit: Curated in partnership with the Detroit Historical
    Society, an open and airy exhibit allows guests to explore the rich
    history of Michigan Central Station and Detroit through visuals, text
    and artifacts, while taking in the grand architecture around them. The
    exhibit includes pieces from local artists who capture the spirit of
    Corktown today.
  • Self-guided tour: Visitors will have rare access to the entire
    first floor of the train station with a self-guided tour that
    showcases images of what the train station once was, juxtaposed with
    how it looks today.
  • Documentary preview: Visitors will get a first-look at
    "Detroit: Comeback City," a HISTORY documentary that charts the mutual
    rise, fall and rise again story of Detroit and Michigan Central
    Station in the words of real Detroiters. The documentary will debut at
    9 p.m. eastern July 1 on HISTORY.
  • Community Area: Ford is hosting community engagements in
    partnership with the Ford Fund inside the station, highlighting local
    artists, entrepreneurs and the youth from Corktown. Activities include
    live mural making with Corktown artists and a student STEAM lab.

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About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan.
The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of
Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury
vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company
and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous
vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 202,000
people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and
Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit

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