A decrepit but iconic train station is moving into the future.
"We want this station, a place that many people suggested should be torn down, to be a beacon of development, opportunity and possibility all over again," Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said during a presentation outside of the station, surrounding by banners that read, "Creating Tomorrow Together."
"It will be the proving ground where Ford and our partners design and test the services and solutions for the way people are going to live and get around tomorrow, creating a Southeast Michigan mobility corridor that spans west from Dearborn to Ann Arbor, and east to Detroit," said CEO Jim Hackett.
The Dearborn-based automaker on Sunday revealed that it acquired the 500,000-square-foot station, which is located in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood and had been closed since 1988. The new development will serve as a "mixed-use space," including office and retail space as well as some residential housing, the company said. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Ford said last year that it planned to move its autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle business and strategy teams to Corktown. The Michigan Central Station acquisition comes alongside other buildings and land purchases that will ultimately give the company 1.2 million square feet in the neighborhood. Ford plans to locate 2,500 employees, mainly from the mobility team, to Corktown by 2022 and has space to accommodate as many as 5,000.
"Michigan Central Station is a powerful symbol of Detroit's struggles and now its resurgence, but Ford's investment in Corktown is far from symbolic," Executive Chairman Bill Ford said in a statement. "We aren't just making a bet on Detroit. We are making a big bet on the future for Ford and the future of transportation. It's exciting to imagine what's possible as we build tomorrow, together."
In the coming years, Ford is expected to offer hybrid options on various vehicles, including the Mustang and the popular F-150, in addition to hybrid options for every new Ford SUV. The company expects a total of 40 electrified vehicles to be available globally by 2022.
"Today, Ford Motor Company is the number-two seller of hybrids in the U.S., and in 2021 we expect to surpass Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) - Get Report to be number one," Jim Farley, Ford's president of global markets, said at a company event in mid-March. "We're going to do this by making hybrids mainstream with our highest-volume, most profitable vehicles."
Ford shares fell 1.7% to $11.78 at 12:00 p.m. New York time.