Ford will transform a set of abandoned elevated railroad tracks into a mobility platform – an open, versatile landscape where Ford and its innovation partners can test and showcase emerging technology, including autonomous vehicles and micro-mobility initiatives. It will also provide shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists and gathering spaces for the community, reconfigurable for a variety of uses.
Award-winning Boston landscape architect Mikyoung Kim Design, working with Detroit-based livingLAB, has been tapped to design the mobility platform and other open spaces around Michigan Central as active places for programming and natural spaces for respite and reflection – all of which serve to unify the buildings with the public realm and embed Ford’s site into the neighborhood. The focus will be on building ecological resilience, promoting health and wellbeing, and giving visitors a sense of wonder, excitement and belonging as they move around.
“Great landscapes should tell stories and build bridges between communities,” said Mikyoung Kim, founder of Mikyoung Kim Design. “We are going to create a 21st century civic center with smart streets and multimodal connectivity that pushes the boundaries of innovation, while being a restorative and welcoming place for all Detroiters.”
Bagley Parking Hub
East of the station, Ford will build a parking garage and mobility hub at 14th and Bagley that provides 1,250 parking spots for Michigan Central workers and serves the community with a pedestrian-oriented streetscape and new public amenities. The building’s dynamic, irregular shape maximizes sunlight and will offer surprising vistas for walkers and bike riders along the future greenway connecting to the new riverfront development at Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park.
The Bagley Parking Hub will enhance street life through exterior artwork, two new public plazas, green spaces and a tree canopy. Public amenities being explored include free Wi-Fi, outdoor seating, drinking fountains, restrooms, bike storage and public parking on evenings and weekends. The tech-enabled environment will offer electric charging, smart parking and payment systems, space utilization sensors and smart lockers. It will be constructed to high sustainability standards, with a focus on stormwater management, health and wellbeing, and promoting the area’s natural ecology.
The parking structure will also serve as a mobility hub, offering micro-mobility solutions like e-bikes and scooters. A shuttle service to move workers and goods within the mobility innovation district may also support residents living in the impact area.
Work on the Book Depository and Bagley Parking Hub will begin in the first quarter of 2021, with both buildings expected to open in early 2022. Michigan Central Station is currently in the middle of phase two of the restoration, the most labor-intensive part of the project focused on fixing the steel structure and repairing eight acres of masonry. Ford is still on track to complete the station by the end of 2022.
“We have tremendous momentum, despite the pandemic, as we work with others to bring our vision to life in Corktown,” said Culler. “Through purposeful planning, design and partnerships, we will be inspiring innovation by promoting interaction between our employees, partners, tenants and the broader community. The goal is to work with innovators who want to join us in creating something truly unique that brings renewed opportunities, sustainability and vitality to the area.”
For more information about Michigan Central, visit michigancentral.com.