Ford Land, Vokal Ventures and Detroit Opportunity Fund II to Form Joint Venture for Innovative Mobility Hub in Corktown
September 28, 2021
Ford Land, Vokal Ventures LLC and Detroit Opportunity Fund II, an entity controlled by the Rakolta family, have announced plans to form a joint venture to construct, operate and maintain the Bagley Mobility Hub, the first new build within Michigan Central, Ford Motor Company’s new mobility innovation district in Corktown.
Ford is restoring Michigan Central Station and the adjacent Book Depository to be the anchor buildings of the 30-acre district that will bring together innovators and disruptors from around the world to solve the most urgent, real-world mobility challenges for all. Michigan Central will include 1.2 million sq. ft. of commercial space and 14-acres of connected outdoor areas that will be open to the public.
The joint venture, called the Corktown Mobility Hub LLC, unites Ford’s real estate arm with two Detroit-based companies with decades of experience in real estate, construction and sales and leasing and will leverage the expertise of each partner. Ford will hold the master lease of the Bagley Mobility Hub, Vokal Ventures will be the operator and Detroit headquartered Devon Industrial Group (DIG) will oversee the construction.
The joint venture will deliver on Ford’s design plan, first outlined in November of last year, for a dynamic six-story building on the corner of Wabash and Bagley Street that will serve the workers of Michigan Central. It is being built to coincide with the opening of the Book Depository building, which is being revitalized with co-working areas, maker spaces and innovation studios.
When complete, the Bagley Mobility Hub will be a state-of-the-art, tech-enabled mobility center offering 1,253 parking spots, an autonomous vehicle testing area, e-bike and e-scooter stations, electric charging, automated payment technology and smart guidance systems. A shuttle service will allow for easy movement of workers, residents and visitors within, to and through Michigan Central and the public realm.
The Hub will benefit the community through streetscape enhancements, ground floor retail, access to micro-mobility solutions and new public amenities, including restrooms, free Wi-Fi, two outdoor plazas and shaded seating areas. The secure facility will be open 24 hours, 7 days a week and offer access to public parking.
Additionally, the Hub will act as a gateway to, and a shared resource for, users of the Southwest Greenway that is being constructed by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, linking the new west riverfront Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park to the train station.
“Partnerships have always been at the core of our vision for Michigan Central,” said Mary Culler, development director for Ford’s Michigan Central project. “We are pleased to join forces with such collaborative partners on this project that share Ford’s commitment to building a strong and more equitable future for Detroit. The joint venture will ensure the long-term success of the Bagley Mobility Hub as a key part of Michigan Central’s innovation ecosystem, while bringing new recreational opportunities and vitality to the area.”
“Continuing to see the revitalization of Detroit is at the core of much of our work,” said Jim Ketai, Principal, Vokal Ventures. “We are very excited to partner with Ford and the Rakolta family on this newly created mobility and transportation hub which will support Ford’s restoration of Michigan Central Station and provide new opportunities for the neighborhood.”
“As a preferred supplier, we are proud to support Ford and showcase the world-class innovation of the Bagley Mobility Hub,” Stephanie Burnley, DIG Co-CEO, said. “We know the overwhelming impact this project will have on Corktown and Southwest Detroit, and our team is looking forward to being part of an energized community that attracts good jobs and top talent.”
The development aligns with the city’s Greater Corktown Neighborhood Framework Plan, which serves to promote inclusive services, including safer circulation and more accessible green spaces, while preserving the community’s unique character, cultural heritage and integrity.
“This new mobility hub is a great example of how Ford’s vision and partnership with the city is bringing about real mobility solutions for people living and working in this area, in a way that is in harmony with the surrounding neighborhood,” said Antoine Bryant, City of Detroit Director of Planning & Development. “Not only will it connect people to jobs, housing and opportunity in Corktown and Southwest Detroit, it also will connect them to incredible resources on the way, such as the Joe Louis Greenway and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park.”
The Bagley Mobility Hub and Book Depository will open in the second quarter of 2022.