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Once abandoned Michigan Central Station in Detroit to reopen after Ford spearheads historic building's restoration

Ford executive on reopening Detroit station
William Clay Ford Jr. on re-opening of the Michigan Central Station in Detroit 05:51

For 75 years, Michigan Central was the majestic train station where many visitors first arrived in Detroit. However, the station closed in 1988 and fell into disrepair. In 2018, Ford acquired the property  with plans to restore it. 

Now, that vision is a reality.

The station will officially reopen on Thursday as the centerpiece of Ford's 30-acre tech campus known as "Michigan Central," located in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood.

According to Ford, Michigan Central will bring Ford employees together with "external partners, entrepreneurs, students, and even competitors, to co-create new products, services, and technologies that add value to a new generation of Ford customers and help build a better world."

William Clay Ford Jr., Ford Motor Company executive chair, said Michigan Central turned out even better than he had dreamed it would. Ford had 3,000 workers on the project, and for many of them, "it was the high watermark of their career."

"They loved working on it. This was a project of passion for them, and boy, does it show," said Ford.

Ford said the reopening of Michigan Central will see restaurants, coffee shops and bars open up, and that the building alone will have about 5,000 jobs attached to it.

The station's reopening comes as Detroit is experiencing a revitalization and becoming a hub for big events. The 2024 NFL Draft was held in the city in April and saw a record-breaking attendance with more than 700,000 fans attending the three-day event.

"There is a buzz around our city, but I think this will really, really open people's eyes," Ford said. "This was our Ellis Island. This is where people came and many of them took their first step into our city. For it to be vibrant and open to the whole community again, I think it's going to be wonderful."

Ford said he is confident that Michigan Central will help launch a new energy for Detroit, attract the best talent and serve as a great workplace for years to come.

"There'll be nothing like this anywhere in America, because not only will this be a beautiful building to work, we're going to invent the future of mobility down here, too. And we want to make the Motor City the Motor City for the next 100 years again," said Ford.

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