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Michigan Central Station reopening to public after six-year renovation

A look inside Michigan Central Station
A look inside Michigan Central Station 03:38

(CBS DETROIT) - Michigan Central Station will reopen to the public this week after Ford Motor Company's extensive six-year renovation.

The abandoned train station has been closed for the last 36 years, but now the public will be able to take a look at the interior restoration of the station's historic ground floor. People can visit the building from June 6-16 during the Michigan Central OPEN events.

Jason Keen/Michigan Central    

Ford acquired the building in 2018 and renovated the abandoned station to be the centerpiece of Michigan Central, a 30-acre technology and cultural hub in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit that will bring entrepreneurs, students, competitors, and more to create new technologies and products. 

"Michigan Central means a great deal to us all. In many ways, this building tells the story of our city," said Bill Ford, executive chair of Ford. "This Station was our Ellis Island – a place where dreamers in search of new jobs and new opportunities first set foot in Detroit. But once the last train pulled out, it became a place where hope left. In 2018, I decided it was time to change that by reimagining this station as a place of possibility again. Over the past six years, Ford Motor Company and teams of forward thinkers, designers, community leaders, and more than 3,000 skilled tradespeople have worked to bring this landmark back to life."  

Jason Keen/Michigan Central  

Renovating Michigan Central Station

Ford and Michigan Central brought new life to the Beaux-Arts building, from its classical façade to its ornate interiors, which include the 54-foot Guastavino tile vaulted ceiling, arcade ticket lobby and restaurant. 

The construction teams used new and old technologies to restore the building and sourced 600 tons of limestone from the same quarry in Indiana that had provided the original stone for the exterior of the train station. 

Brian Wybenga/Michigan Central

"Everything Ford could save, we did, and other elements were re-created through technology and tenacity," said Melissa Dittmer, Head of Place at Michigan Central. "At the same time, it was important to us to respect The Station's extraordinary past, including its ongoing role in Detroit's cultural landscape. Weaving these histories through repurposed, state-of-the-art spaces will enable us to create an inclusive, forward-looking building that can propel innovation for the next 100 years."  

The quarry was closed but reopened to work on the Michigan Central project, and a Michigan tradesman spent 428 hours hand-carving a replica of a single-column capital from one of the limestone blocks to be used for the north entrance. 

Select sections of graffiti on the walls were saved to preserve the station's more recent history. 

Workspaces at Michigan Central Station

The automaker is among the first tenants, and employees on its Ford Model e and Ford Integrated Services teams will be moved into new office spaces starting later this year. There will also be a collaboration space for other employees in Southeast Michigan to use. 

Ford plans to have 1,000 employees working at the Michigan Central district by the end of this year and 2,500 employees by 2028. 

The Station, the innovation hub, will also provide 640,000 square feet of technology, community, and gathering spaces for collaboration with companies, universities, startups and more. The Station is joining Newlab, which has been open for just over a year and has over 600 employees from about 100 companies, including startups, all with at least one founder from an underrepresented background. 

Newlab provides these companies with an environment for testing new products and ideas, including the Transportation Innovation Zone, which includes space for testing technology pilots. 

Michigan Central

Michigan Central OPEN tours, concert

From June 6 to 16, Ford and Michigan Central are hosting the Michigan Central OPEN, which includes a concert and tours of the space.

The sold-out "Live from Detroit: The Concert" at Michigan Central will feature Michigan natives Diana Ross, Big Sean, Illa J, Jack White, Kierra Sheard, Theo Parrish, Slum Village, the Clark Sisters, Sky Jetta, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Barry Sanders, Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown will be presenters at the event.

The Michigan stars will also be joined by Common, Fantasia, Melissa Etheridge, and Jelly Roll, as well as presenters Mike Epps and Sophia Bush.

The concert will kick off the festivities on June 6, and then, starting on June 7, there will be a 10-day open house for the public to see the renovations made inside the building. 

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