Gensler and PAU Create Ford Motor Mobility District in Detroit’s Oldest Neighborhood


Gensler and PAU create Ford Motor Mobility District in Detroit’s oldest neighborhood

Courtesy of PAU




Ford Motor Company has released a new plan for an innovation and mobility district in Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. The “Michigan Central” plan was designed by the Praxis für Architektur und Städtebau (PAU) and includes a multi-year development that includes the restoration of the legendary Michigan Central Station. Gensler is redesigning the Book Depository building while PAU plans the entire development of Michigan Central. The vision is an open platform for startups and entrepreneurs to develop, test and bring new mobility solutions to market.

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As the team explains, the 30-hectare site plan, developed by the lead architect and strategic planner Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, envisages a walk-through community that is anchored at the train station. It will “prioritize the needs of residents and businesses as well as the 5,000 people who work there” in order to connect with the surrounding neighborhoods and the city. The development consists of four buildings: Michigan Central Station, the Book Depository, Building West (a new building west of the train station), and The Factory, which is where Ford’s autonomous vehicle division is located.

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“This project is about preparing Ford for another century of innovation and success,” said Mary Culler, Ford’s Detroit Development Director and Ford Fund President. “At Michigan Central, we take a collaborative approach to innovation, including providing flexible workspaces that attract and engage the best minds to solve complex transportation and related challenges as we work together to shape the future of mobility.”

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Work on the Book Depository and the Bagley Parking Hub will begin in the first quarter of 2021. Both buildings are expected to open in early 2022. Michigan Central Station is currently in the second phase of restoration. Ford is well on its way to completing the station by the end of 2022.

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Dusty Kennedy