Inside the decaying Detroit train station Ford is transforming into its self-driving car hub
June 10, 2018
Ford Motor Company is stepping up its efforts to help Detroit compete with Silicon Valley. The automaker will reveal plans Tuesday morning to transform a 105-year-old train station into its high-tech base for the future of automotive mobility. Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. recently gave “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King an exclusive tour of the historic space.
Over its 105-year history, the massive Michigan Central train station in Detroit has reflected the life and times of the city around it. When the railroad was king, the station stood as a symbol of Detroit’s prosperity. Then the city’s economy collapsed and fell into bankruptcy.
“Detroit was built in an era where there was a ton of money here. And so buildings like this were built with grandeur, and then they fell in disrepair,” Ford said.
“Had we been looking at this 10 years ago, you would’ve had a lot of empty buildings there,” Ford said of the station, which at that point had become a symbol for how bad things had gotten in the city. “This was the poster child,” Ford said. “That used to always drive me, as somebody who’s lived here my whole life. I hated that kind of publicity for our city and for this structure.”
So he’s doing something about it. His company just bought the half-a-million square-foot behemoth and is turning it into Ford’s new hub for autonomous and electric vehicle research.