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 totaling 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.
this article first appeared on thetruthaboutcars.com