DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. expects to spend $740 million turning an abandoned train depot and several neighboring properties here into an urban technology campus, but it's seeking tax breaks and other incentives to cover at least a third of that cost, the automaker said last week.
It's the first public disclosure of how much Ford will invest in the 1.2-million-square-foot project spread across five buildings in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood, including the rundown Michigan Central Station, which is to anchor the campus dedicated to work on autonomous and electric vehicle technology.
Ford is asking for local, state and federal tax incentives totaling about $250 million over 34 years, a company representative said.
Ford said its investment in the campus, including buying the train station and developing 45 acres of vacant land, will not require money beyond what it had earmarked in 2016 to overhaul its product campus and headquarters in nearby Dearborn. The estimated cost "takes into account the requirements of restoring a historic building such as the train station," a 13-story landmark that closed in 1988, Ford said in a statement.
Richard Bardelli, program manager for Ford Land Development Co., the automaker's real-estate arm, said during a community meeting last week that the project will involve an overhaul of the 104-year-old train depot and a former Detroit Public Schools book depository across the street. In addition, a dilapidated former brass factory several blocks away will be demolished to make way for a 290,000-square-foot, four-story building.
Two parking decks are expected to be constructed as part of the project, which is anticipated to be complete within four years.
The depot is expected to be turned into about 313,000 square feet of office space, about 42,000 square feet of residential space spread across 40 or so units, 43,000 square feet of commercial space and 60,000 square feet of event space.
The former brass factory is to be leveled starting this year and replaced by a building with offices and labs as well as commercial space. Ford moved about 200 employees into a renovated former hosiery factory next door in late 2017.
Major construction work on the train station is expected to begin early next year, with a year being spent stabilizing the building and another two years spent restoring it. Major work on the book depository is expected to begin early next year.
By the time Ford completes the project, it's slated to employ about 2,500 Ford workers and another 2,500 workers from partner companies.