Detroit abuzz at Ford's plans for historic train station

The city is abuzz Tuesday with the big event happening at Michigan Central Station. 

Officials with Ford Motor Co. are elaborating on their plans to redevelop the vacant, 105-year-old building in Corktown. We know the automaker just bought the structure, and that their redevelopment plans are part of a campus focusing on autonomous vehicles.

They'll be giving more details in a special program at 11 a.m. You can watch along on FOX 2 News Now live on our Facebook page.

Thousands of people are expected to attend. Detroit rapper Big Sean is reportedly going to perform as well. 

The renovation of the station will take close to four years. If you’re expecting a huge blue oval hovering above the building, you may not see it. Bill Ford Jr. says he wants to be respectful of the neighbors in the area, and that they haven’t decided about the signage yet.

The 500,000-square-foot building has stood empty since the last train left in 1988. Businessman Manuel "Matty" Moroun bought the building in the mid-1990s after a previous owner defaulted on a loan.

Ford announced last year that it was going to move its autonomous and electric vehicle business and strategy teams to Corktown. In addition to the train station, Ford owns several other neighborhood properties that will be renovated and rehabbed. 

The company already has started moving about 200 workers into a refurbished former factory a few blocks from the station. The automaker estimates the size of its campus at about 1.2 million square feet. The station and office tower is expected to anchor the automaker's research and development of self-driving vehicles. It also gives Ford a presence in Detroit which continues to rebound after exiting bankruptcy in 2014.

This move is expected to bring thousands of tech-related workers into the downtown area and to spur the grown of Corktown, which is among the city's neighborhoods that have become trendy in recent years.


The Associated Press contributed to this report