Reimagining the Future Of Corktown Detroit

Ford Motor Company’s Detroit Development Director Mary Culler is helping reimagine the future of Corktown Detroit with the Michigan Central Station redevelopment and creation of a new innovative mobility ecosystem. Culler spoke at the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference on Ford’s commitment to creating a vibrant, innovative community where people come to create, test, and experience new transportation solutions that advance human progress.

Corktown currently houses Ford’s autonomous vehicle business unit where more than 250 employees work toward its goal to deploy a self-driving car by 2021. As Ford reopens Detroit’s iconic train station and several nearby properties, more than 5,000 employees for Ford and partners will join the Corktown scene.

“Ford was built on the idea that the freedom of movement drives human progress,” said Culler. “There’s so much change in the mobility industry happening right now and we are tackling these issues head on.”

Culler discussed the progress already made on the renovations to Michigan Central Station, where the team has already stabilized the building and covered it with a temporary roof. More than 650,000 gallons of water were removed from the basement, said Culler, and workers even found still-full whiskey bottles in the walls of the station.

Ford is devoted to preserving this rich Corktown history, explained Culler. By bringing this former symbol of neglect back to life and recreating its historic details, Ford hopes to create a new symbol of progress for Detroit with Michigan Central Station. By working with the surrounding communities in Corktown and beyond, Ford aims to become a neighbor, instead of a traditional developer.

“It is impossible to be in Detroit without acknowledging our people and our past,” said Culler.

With its new innovation district, Ford will reinforce Detroit as a global destination for mobility by creating a testing ground for automated vehicles, said Culler. Ford also plans for the district to attract business and talent to the region, while highlighting local businesses and community arts and culture.

“I’m here to invite you to join us in taking on the transportation challenges of the future.”

Thank you to Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center for sponsoring this keynote.

Read more about this session on DBusiness and Crain’s Detroit Business.