215 Park Avenue South, 1901
New York, NY 10003
212 962 6307

Michigan Central Station

Detroit, Michigan




Ford Motor Company


Landscape Design: Mikyoung Kim Design

Transportation Design: Buro Happold

Civil Engineering: Giffels Webster

The Train Station Design: Quinn Evans, AvroKO, Brand Bureau

The Book Depository Design: Gensler

Bagley Parking Hub Design: Rossetti

Sustainability: Jacobs

Cost Estimation: Mark Allan & Associates

Market Analysis: Streetsense


30 Acres



In the summer of 2018, Ford Motor Company purchased Detroit’s Michigan Central Station—a locally beloved, Beaux-Arts icon—with the goal of adapting the station as the centerpiece of a new mobility innovation district. Opened in 1913 during the heyday of train travel in the area, the station was abandoned in 1988 after use fell dramatically and Amtrak ended service to the site. Abandoned for decades, the station transitioned from a symbol mirroring the city’s prosperity and potential to its stasis and decline, but it is now poised to represent the rebirth of this great American metropolis.

Ford subsequently hired PAU as their lead architect and strategic planner in order to create a community-driven public space and design vision for the Station and its surrounds within the context of the city’s larger framework plan for the area, including the potential for major new parks and innovative new commercial structures. Situated close to downtown Detroit, alongside a large, underutilized public park, and near a major thoroughfare with a grassroots retail community, the Station’s site is a prime spot for catalytic investment that will strengthen the surrounding neighborhoods. PAU is collaborating with Mikyoung Kim Design as the site’s landscape architect.

PAU’s plan facilitates moments of collaboration and serendipity, not only between Ford employees, but also other building tenants, academic partners, and the community. Around the site, opportunities for public placemaking were identified to create nodes of social space, transforming the site into a magnet for neighborhood activity and interaction. The plan also calls for modest, high-impact upgrades to the existing public infrastructure, such as repainting existing structures and installing new lighting to improve the pedestrian experience around the station.

Directly behind the station, the historic train platforms will be repurposed as a mobility testing platform, providing Ford and their innovation partners with a space to publicly showcase emerging technology, including autonomous concept vehicles and micro-mobility transportation initiatives. Beyond displaying and testing technology, the platform will provide space for pedestrian connections and allow for its reconfiguration to support a variety of public uses.

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