Watch CBS News

A Face-Lift For The Detroit Train Station As Part Of Land Transfer Deal

DETROIT (CBS DETROIT/AP) - A face-lift for the long-vacant Michigan Central Depot is part of a larger deal which includes land trades and money between the city of Detroit and the owners of the Ambassador Bridge.

It's a big deal for southwest Detroit says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan about extensive improvements, and an expansion, on the way for Riverside Park.

"Riverside Park ought to be a jewel," said Duggan, as he spelled out details of a proposed deal.

The owners of a long-shuttered train depot that for nearly two decades has been one of Detroit's best-known eyesores will be required to install 1,050 windows this year as part of a land transfer deal with the city, Duggan announced Wednesday.

In exchange for the enhancements to the Michigan Central Depot, the Ambassador Bridge Co. would get a strip of city-owned land that can be used as part of a planned and privately funded new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

In addition, Riverside Park will expand to 25 acres after the city gives the Moroun family three acres needed for a second bridge in exchange for five acres along the riverfront. The Moroun family will also spend three million dollars on park improvements immediately. The agreement also calls for a new soccer field and baseball diamond to be built this fall along with upgrades to the fishing and picnic areas.

riverside park
(credit: Charlie Langton/WWJ)

The deal breaks down like this: the city will get five acres of water-front property, $5 million and fixing all the windows on the Michigan Train Depot; the Maroon's get three acres of city property to build a possible second span of the Ambassador Bridge.

Manuel (Matty) Moroun told WWJ's Charlie Langton over the course of many meetings an agreement was reached.

"After a number of meetings with the mayor and discussions, I can see that the best thing for my business is to open my mind and be multifaceted," said Moroun.

Moroun bought the building in the 1990s. Moroun also owns the Ambassador Bridge Co. and a number of land parcels along the city's west riverfront.

Asked if he expects resistance to the deal, Duggan says there are always negotiations at play.

"There's push-back on everything in this town," said Duggan, when asked if there will be resistance to the deal. "So, that's the way it goes - but it's jobs for Detroiters and it's continuing to build Detroit."

"We need a new soccer field, we need a new baseball field, we need better picnic areas - we need to upgrade those. And so, the next piece is the Moroun's will pay immediately three million dollars for the improvement of Riverside Park," said Duggan. "The area that we are going to sell along the bridge, or that we are going to trade, we keep the riverfront footage and a right-of-way - so that the public will get a 100 foot right-of-way, all the way along the waterfront - we keep access to the waterfront property, even in the area that we are transferring. That's good."

The 3-acre strip of undeveloped land the city would hand over to Moroun is adjacent to the Ambassador Bridge and in the area where the bridge company is planning to build the Detroit portion of a twin span over the Detroit River. That project has been held up in litigation over permits.

Once the bridge company receives the title to the strip of land, it will give Detroit another $2 million for further work on Riverside Park.

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.