DETROIT -- Ford Land Development Co. plans to tear down an old brass factory in Corktown and redevelop the vacant site with a large new building, the head of Ford's real estate division said this week.
CEO Dave Dubensky told Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News, that The Alchemy building at 2051 Rosa Parks Blvd. has significant environmental issues that need to be addressed, so instead of repurposing the property it will be leveled.
"From our perspective there's no way to remediate the issues there," he said. "Our teams tell me they gotta take out about 6 feet of soil. You've got to scrape out 6 feet of soil. It's not historic, really no architectural value, so we'd probably scrape that one, take out the soil and build something knew there."
The new building would rival the Michigan Central Station in terms of square footage, with about 500,000-600,000 square feet of mixed-use space. That's the equivalent of five or six big-box retail stores.
On Tuesday, Ford Motor Co. formally announced its plans for a 1.2 million-square-foot campus in the Corktown neighborhood west of downtown Detroit, anchored by the vacant train station on 15th Street that hasn't been used in 30 years.
It's part of a push for tech and engineering talent as the automaker looks to develop autonomous and electric vehicles. The first step in Ford's campus was acquiring The Factory at Corktown, a 45,000-square-foot building on Michigan Avenue east of the train station, which had been owned by the Moroun family for more than two decades.
The deal for The Alchemy building has not yet closed. It sits on nearly three acres of land.
Any rehabilitation of the train station, which has been emblematic of Detroit's dramatic rise and fall in the 20th and early 21st centuries, would likely seek millions of dollars in tax incentives; that project alone would probably cost north of $200 million. Along with Michigan Central Station, Ford also purchased from the Morouns a former Detroit Public Schools book depository building east of the depot, plus land north of Bobcat Bonnie's restaurant from other landlords.
Dubensky said this week that the company has not yet selected contractors to work on the overall campus project.
He also said he believes Ford is "done with our (property) assemblage for now."
"We have enough property to do everything we want," Dubensky said. "That's not to say that in some point in the future we might not do more, but for now we are done."