By on April 28, 2018

Image: Ken Lund/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Officially, there’s more than 220 Ford Motor Company employees ready to move into a refurbished former factory on Michigan Avenue in Detroit’s Corktown district sometime this year. A nice little burst of employment for a long-neglected, now-resurgent neighborhood, but it might be just the beginning.

The automaker is reportedly in talks with numerous property owners to create a campus totalling at least 1.1 million square feet, with the towering — and famously abandoned — Michigan Central Station as its anchor.

According to Crain’s Detroit Business (via Automotive News), sources claim Ford wants to amass a land holding consisting of 21 acres and dozens of buildings and properties. The bulk of the properties lie in a square bordered by Michigan Avenue, Rosa Parks Boulevard, the Fisher Freeway, and Trumbull Avenue, a few blocks east of the former train station.

Late last year, Ford announced the business and strategy teams for its electric and autonomous vehicle efforts would set up shop in The Factory at Corktown — a 45,000 square foot facility at the corner of Michigan and Rosa Parks. Earlier this year, it was learned Ford was in talks to purchase the nearby train depot.

Wrestling the property away from its owner, Matty Moroun, could be difficult, but one source told Crain’s that an announcement could come on May 10th. That’s the date of the automaker’s annual shareholders meeting. It’s possibly a grander vision for the area might be presented at that time.

If true, the creation of a corporate campus in Corktown would be a boon for the city of Detroit, where main revitalization (and repopulation) efforts have focused largely on the downtown core and Woodward Avenue spine. It also calls into question Ford’s intentions for its Dearborn base. In 2016, the automaker revealed a 10-year plan for a sprawling, green campus in that jurisdiction, looking like something right out of Silicon Valley.

Reportedly, the plan underwent a re-evaluation after Jim Hackett took the reins from former Ford CEO Mark Fields.

[Image: Ken Lund/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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14 Comments on “Ford Poised to Take Over Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood: Report...”


  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    So Ford can’t afford to build sedans here anymore, but they can waste money on crap like this?

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      The cost to develop and maintain the campus will be pennies compared to the year over year losses incurred by producing sedans and small hatches nobody is buying without astronomical discounts slapped on the hood.

      BTW since your so incensed I take it you were really looking forward to replacing your current fiesta/focus/fusion with a hoped for improved model?

      • 0 avatar
        Trucky McTruckface

        Of course it only costs a small fraction of what manufacturing those cars would. But the fact that Ford’s willing to blow money on some Bill Ford vanity project like this at the same time they’re going overboard cutting product for short term stock price gains does not inspire much confidence in company management.

        “BTW since your so incensed I take it you were really looking forward to replacing your current fiesta/focus/fusion with a hoped for improved model?”

        Uh oh, butthurt fanboy alert. I’ve bought two new Fords in the last decade, how many have you bought? Because if I don’t buy their crap, I’m not allowed to criticize them, right?

    • 0 avatar
      nramacciato

      Can you explain how this is crap? Your ignorance is showing badly.

    • 0 avatar
      Len_A

      If you have no idea, as to what it costs just to bring a European designed Focus, to meet U.S./Canada bumper, exterior lighting and emissions standards, including crash, durability & emissions testing, let alone how much it costs to source North American parts suppliers, why don’t you just keep uninformed comments to yourself?

      • 0 avatar
        Trucky McTruckface

        You mean the same costs that are already sunk to federalize Focus Active?

        And if you actually think I believe that it costs the same for Ford to acquire a bunch of worthless property in Detroit as it does to manufacture a car in America, then I’m not the one who has a problem with making uninformed comments.

        I think it’s hilarious to watch the Ford sychophants blindly defend less consumer choice and less North American manufacturing jobs as a good thing. How many times does the Blue Oval have to demonstrate they’re a terribly run company that doesn’t give a sh*t about you before you stop swallowing their tripe?

        • 0 avatar
          Len_A

          I’m referring to federalizing the next gen Fusion. And as far as reducing consumer choice, go take that up with the non-Ford family stockholders on Wall Street. Bottom line is that Ford’s common stock hasn’t approved the early 2011 peak of about $18 a share. It’s not being a Ford apologist. It’s recognizing what’s driving these decisions. Hackett’s in place because the same shareholders relayed to Bill Ford Jr that they were seriously unhappy with where Mark Fields was leading the company. The shareholders are demanding a higher ROI on all product spending.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            Replying to both youse guys. The best any non-Toyota/Honda manufacturer can do in the sedan category is third place. It’s worse when you compare the sales numbers of one and two to number three. As for this being a “Bill Ford vanity project”, the Ford family approves. The collective and extensive Ford family stills controls the Ford company through their ownner ship of their B stock. Now if the A stock would ever reach 24.

        • 0 avatar
          Len_A

          And one other thing – the Ford family has controlling interest in Ford, but NOT the majority of the stock. The only was to run the company without outside shareholder/Wall Street influences is to take Ford private. Look up the number of common stock shares outstanding time the current price. That’s a rough estimate of what it would take to get rid of outside shareholder pressure. Not very damn likely.

  • avatar
    Len_A

    Ford already took over the former headquarters of Masco, in near-by Taylor, MI, and converted the abandon Lord & Taylor department store, at Fairlane mall, into offices. I’d say the plans to completely rebuild their Dearborn research campus is on track.

  • avatar
    brn

    Nice! Good job Ford. Now let’s talk about the next generation Fusion.

  • avatar

    I have no idea why Ford would say it, instead of just discontinuing at the end of the model run/tooling amortization. They are, however, mostly right.

    My daily drive is being surrounded by boxes which all want to kill me. Some boxes are silver, some are white, a very few an actual color.

    Cars are about 30% of the fleet at this point in my area, no matter the price point.

  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

    >Ford Poised to Take Over Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood: Report

    OCP’s Ford Division to take over New Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    As with anything “good news” in Detroit, and with that d**n MCS…. I hope it pans out but I’ll never believe it until I see it happening. I’ll give Detroit props for what is going on downtown and midtown, but I still wonder if this is just a cheap debt kinda boom…next downturn and we’re back to motor city 2007.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is also an attempt to attract young employees to Ford. Cities are in, especially hip places like Corktown or Midtown. Sorry but Dearborn or Auburn Hills just isn’t very attractive to the younger crowd. And that’s on top of already struggling to get people to want to move to Michigan… A wonderful and beautiful state but with a reputation for horrid winters and low quality of life in the Metro Detroit area.


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