The long vacant Michigan Central Depot will host its first event in decades for the kickoff of Detroit Homecoming IV, a three-day event in September designed to attract expatriates and investments.
There has not been an event at the station since the mid-1980s, said Matthew Moroun, whose family owns the building, a now-iconic symbol of Detroit’s decay since it fell into ruin after closing in 1988.
Moroun joined a news conference announcing plans for the invitation-only gathering Sept. 13-15 with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Hall of Fame gymnast Wendy Hilliard and Homecoming director Mary Kramer of Crain’s Detroit Business, which produces the event.
The Detroit Homecoming event brings together 200 of the region’s most successful expatriates and has led to the investment of more than $300 million in city projects and businesses since its inaugural year in 2014, according to event organizers.
This year, comedienne and actress Lily Tomlin, a Cass Technical High School graduate, will accept the Detroit Homecoming award and a key to the city during the event, officials announced. Speakers with ties to Detroit or Michigan include philanthropist Stephen Ross, Golden State Warrior Draymond Green and Taskrabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot.
A dinner and elevator ride to the roof will be part of the opening event at the depot, Duggan said.
Moroun said the family has invested $4 million at the depot on Michigan Avenue, a portion of that for the installation of 1,000 windows beginning in 2015. He estimated it would take $100 million to renovate the 18-story building.
“The depot is gong to take a marathon, but we’re not at the beginning of the race,” Moroun said. “We’re a few miles in.”
Moroun that there are hundreds of ideas for how the depot could be used, but there has be one that makes sense financially.
Duggan said Thursday he envisions the building being used for high-end lofts.
“We’re going to see the day the building gets renovated again,” Duggan said.