Ford’s purchase of symbolic Detroit train station expected Monday

The Michigan Central Train depot sits vacant in Detroit on Nov. 1, 2011. The last train pulled out of the station in 1988, shortly before the Honda Accord became the best-selling car in America, a humbling milestone for the city and its top industry. Photo credit: REUTERS FILE PHOTO

Ford Motor Co.’s long-expected plan to return to Detroit by establishing a new campus in the city’s Corktown neighborhood will take a significant step Monday.

Representatives for the Moroun family, which own the city’s towering Michigan Central Station, plan an announcement Monday about the 104-year-old train depot’s future. Crain’s Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News, first reported in March that Ford intended to purchase the train station as the centerpiece of an extensive Detroit campus. Rail service at the depot ended in 1988.

Crain’s Detroit Business reported last month that the Morouns sold the depot to an entity with ties to Ford. Another nearby building, a former Detroit Public Schools book depository, was also sold to a related entity.

Ford is expected to detail plans for the train station the week of June 18, according to sources close to the situation.

It’s unclear what the automaker plans to do in Corktown, although last month it moved roughly 200 workers on its autonomous and electrified vehicle teams into a building known as The Factory.

When Ford purchased The Factory late last year, executives said forging operations in Detroit would help the company battle Silicon Valley for young, tech-minded talent to develop and build self-driving vehicles.

Ford has deep roots in Detroit: Henry Ford’s Piquette Avenue Plant, which first cranked out the Model T, resides on the city’s east side, and Ford once owned the city’s towering Renaissance Center, before rival General Motors purchased it and established its headquarters there.

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