New Hope For Detroit’s Endangered Train Station

A group of state legislators is urging that stunning Michigan Central train station be left standing, instead of being dynamited as the Detroit city council ordered last month.

The historic depot, an encore project from the team of architects who created Grand Central Station in NYC nearly a century ago, remains structurally sound but is in rough shape in all other respects after two decades of vandalism and neglect.

With more than 500,000 square feet of space on nearly 14 acres in proximity to critical state, regional and international infrastructure facilities, the Central Depot property has great potential to house a complimentary set of homeland security, intermodal transportation and economic development-related functions,” write the five state senators. “The property is ideally located in an area of unique intermodal convergence that includes the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, connections to three interstate highways, the Detroit-Wayne County Port and several freight lines."

The Detroit city council–which seems to have no clue on how to protect the remaining gems in that afflicted place–has yet to respond to the proposal.

The timing of the senators’ plea, though, is interesting. Just last week, the Michigan Messenger reported that the Canadian Pacific Railroad is seeking $400 million to build a new freight rail tunnel under the Detroit River and likely emerging in the middle of Michigan Central’s rail yard.

While building the tunnel would not necessarily save the structure, the proposal does seem to buttress the case made by preservationists that the complex still has economic value and is worth rehabilitating.


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