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Ford begins to forge a Corktown campus

Ford Motor Co. is in talks with several landowners in Corktown to create a sprawling campus that consists of dozens of individual properties, including both buildings and land, Crains

With the abandoned Michigan Central Station as Anchor of the campus, Ford is also nearing shops to buy property ranging from small retail buildings and slivers from land to large warehouses, according to a half-dozen sources that have been informed about discussions with real estate owners.

The Dearborn-based automobile giant, which employs 48,000 in Michigan, is reportedly announcing its intention to buy and renovate the dilapidated Michigan Central Station in Corktown next month. The Campus Discussions

An announcement of what the Detroit's most transformational development plan in more than a decade could come on May 1

0, one source said. The other sources were unable to verify this date, and that is also the time when the annual general meeting of Ford should start at 8:30, but the next destination is the target.

The project is not set in stone. The Moroun family, which has owned the station and some of the other buildings in the plan for decades, are considered harsh negotiators, which means that the discussions may collapse and the depot may remain in the hands of the family.

Ford has already done so, revealing its intention to occupy the Corktown factory on Michigan Avenue and bring 220 autonomous / electric vehicle workers to the 45,000-square-foot building. In the five weeks since Cracks (19459004) was linked to Ford's first reports of the company's discussions with the Moroun family about the approximately 50 properties, including the station and small vacant lots.

"We are thrilled to return to Detroit this year as our electric vehicles and autonomous vehicle teams move to the Corktown factory," said Dawn Booker, a spokeswoman for Ford Land Development Corp., the real estate division of Ford Motor Co ., in a statement. 19659002] "While we expect our presence to grow over time as our AV / EV teams move downtown, we have nothing to report at this time."

The result of the real estate meeting would be a sprawling campus 1.1 million square feet of building space on at least 21 acres.

Almost all properties in the area are typically located by the Vernor Highway, 14th Street, the I-75 service drive, Trumbull Avenue, Rosa Parks Boulevard, and Bagley Avenue Limited [19659002] Among them: The Detroit Athletic Co. building on Michigan Avenue, the Moroun-owned former Detroit Public Schools Bookkeeping, and The Alchemy Building on Rosa Parks Boulevard. A series of dozens of empty plots just north of the Bobcat Bonnie's restaurants with a total area of ​​nearly 5 acres are also in play.

Several messages have been left in recent weeks with some of the owners.

The discussions in the station have continued for months. Crains Reporters have seen workers on the building with scaffolding and a building platform erected on the west side in recent weeks. A spokesman for the Moroun family said last month that the crews would conduct inspections, but declined to provide additional details about the nature of the inspections. The equipment has since been removed.

It is not known how, if at all, the Corktown Campus would affect Ford's effort to turn its Dearborn headquarters into what two years ago was a planned $ 1 billion, 10-year effort to consolidate and renovate employees his buildings there. If Ford's plan comes to fruition, the total capital outlay could reach or exceed that amount; local and state tax incentives would probably be included.

The company is also in the process of revising its 10-year Dearborn Campus transformation plan, which was completed by some $ 1 billion

at SmithGroupJJR in Detroit. Its work on a master plan for the project, but as CEO Jim Hackett replaced Mark Fields with a team of Oslo-based Snohetta Architects and New York City-based Gensler, which has an office in downtown Detroit. After two sources dealing with the matter who demanded anonymity, they evaluated the plan:

Questions were addressed to the Moroun family that had built their empire in the trucking industry. CBRE Inc., which represents Ford in most of its real estate business, declined to comment.

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