June 10, 2014 at 1:00 am

Moroun plans more rehab of historic Michigan Central Depot

The station closed in 1988. (David Coates / The Detroit News)

Detroit— More work is apparently slated for the Michigan Central Depot, one of the most famous dead buildings in Detroit.

Permits have been filed to install a service elevator that will allow the installation of windows and roof work “as we continue to prepare the building for a new day,” said a spokesman for building owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun.

“As with the rehabilitation of any historic structure, it always takes more time and money than first expected,” spokesman Mickey Blashfield said in an email. “In addition to applying for the building permits we are keeping city of Detroit officials updated on our progress and plans.”

The train station is operated by NBIT Inc., a company controlled by billionaire Moroun, who also owns the Ambassador Bridge. Last year, Moroun said he would spend between $15 million and $20 million to fix the windows, the roof, install a working elevator, clean up the grounds and provide new security measures.

Last month, Mayor Mike Duggan said he was in talks with Moroun about bringing the train station back to life, mentioning the installation of a working elevator.

“I want the train depot renovated,” Duggan said last month.

Moroun bought the building in the 1990s for back taxes after Amtrak discontinued rail service. The 18-story station, designed by the same architects responsible for Grand Central Station in New York City, has long been a symbol of Detroit’s urban decay.

Plans to rehabilitate the building have gone nowhere. Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick once proposed using the fenced-off compound as a criminal justice facility. Other ideas — converting the monolith into a hotel, casino, lofts, and mall — also died.

laguilar@detroitnews.com
Twitter: LouisAguilar_DN