Empty Michigan Central Depot to get 1,000 new windows

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News
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Detroit — Michigan Central Depot, one of the city's most visible desolate buildings, is getting more than 1,000 new windows soon. But it remains unclear what, if any, development plan its billionaire owner Manuel "Matty" Moroun has for bringing the long empty ruin back to life.

A St. Clair company issued a press release Monday saying it has reached an agreement with the owners to replace all the windows in the towering old train station in Corktown, which closed in 1988. The company, Chamberlain Glass & Metal Inc., and Graham Architectural Products have been working Moroun executives "to determine a system that is not only sensitive to the historic value of this building, but also meets the high standards of a modern office tower," according to the press statement.

An elevator has been installed, according to the press release.

Work in preparing the openings for the new windows has begun, and will continue over the next few months as the replacement windows are fabricated. The work will take months to complete.

The train station opened in December 1913 and has been owned by Moroun since 1995. Since its closure in 1988, it has become one of the city's most infamous symbols of decay.

Moroun has said he plans to renew the train station, but none of those plans has become reality. There was the 2001 proposal to convert the massive building into an international trade and customs center. In 2003, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick announced a plan for it to become the new Detroit police headquarters.

In 2011, Moroun announced he would hire crews to begin to remove the asbestos-laden caulking and glazing from the huge arch-shaped first floor windows that provide a view to the once elegant lobby with marble pillars.

In 2013, the Detroit City Council passed a resolution that ordered Moroun to destroy the landmark building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The estimated cost to renovate the 18-story building is somewhere between $100 million to $300 million, Moroun officials have said in the past. In recent years, the depot has found new life as a production location for television shows and movies. It also has long been an attraction for artists, visiting media and even wedding parties who routinely pose in front of the massive blight.


Twitter: LouisAguilar_DN

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