Michigan Central construction still months away
Dearborn — Ford Motor Co.'s construction on Corktown's Michigan Central Depot is still "several months" away.
This summer, the property management arm for the automaker, Ford Land Co., said it expected renovations on the 1913-built former train station that will anchor Ford's $740 million, 1.2 million-square-foot autonomous and electrical vehicle campus to begin this fall. But the company still is finishing its designs.
"It will still be several months before we start," Doug VanNoord, Ford Land's director of sales, leasing and development, told The Detroit News Wednesday. "We are still working on our master plan."
The timeline remains intact, however, and the depot is expected to open in late 2022.
The comments came during a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday for the renovated Wagner Place, which features the preserved turret of the 120-year-old Wagner Hotel, in Dearborn's West Downtown District. Ford moved 600 employees from its global data insight and analytics division into the $60 million, 150,000-square-foot development that flanks Monroe Avenue on the south side of Michigan Avenue.
Additionally, Ford Land said Orangetheory Fitness and six restaurants have signed leases in the first floor of the two-building development. They are expected to open during the first quarter of 2019.
"We're anticipating a really positive impact here in West Dearborn," VanNoord said. "We hope it will be a catalyst for the future."
The project is part of Ford’s 10-year plan to redevelop its outdated properties into a walkable, aesthetically pleasing work environment. The master plan calls for the relocation of 30,000 employees to two renovated Ford campuses in Dearborn.
Wagner Place has first-floor retail and restaurants, two floors of workspace and a rooftop terrace. Greenspace behind the building and improvements to West Village Drive also will provide space for outdoor concerts, fairs and artshows. The Wagner Hotel site, which sat vacant for 10 years, is about a mile from Ford’s product development campus.
A new breakfast and lunch spot called The Great Commoner will occupy the bottom floor of the Wagner Hotel. City Barbeque and Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant & Brewery will be in the East building of the development.
Eleanor's Café, Modern Greek and Salad Bar, Paradise Briyani Pointe Indian Cuisine and Yogurtown will be in the west side building with Orangetheory. About 40 percent of the retail space still is left, and rents are in the low $30s per square foot.
"We wanted cool, unique businesses to come here," VanNoord said. "We really wanted to make this a destination spot."
Behind the development, the city also built a $20 million, four-story parking garage with 373 spaces. It received a $3 million performance grant and a 30-year, $31.4 million local and school tax abatement from the state for the parking deck and street improvements.
Jolly Pumpkin is moving into the east side building. The restaurant known for Belgian and French beers with Spanish names has several locations in Chicago and Michigan, including Detroit and Royal Oak. The Dearborn restaurant, however, will feature a stronger Hawaiian flavor.
"Dearborn and Ford," said Jon Carlson, a manager for the restaurant, "that combination 100 percent won us. We love what's happening in Dearborn and are excited to be a part of it."