Moroun Family Makes It Official: Ford Has Bought the Train Station

June 11, 2018, 9:33 AM by  Allan Lengel

Matthew Moroun at Monday's press conference. (Photo: Deadline Detroit)

It's official. 

Matthew Moroun, son of "Matty" Moroun, announced Monday morning at a press conference in front of the Michigan Central Station in Detroit's Corktown that Ford Motor Co. is the new owner.

"The deal is complete," Moroun said. "The future of the depot is assured. The next steward of the building is the right one for its future. The depot will become a shiny symbol of Detroit's progress and its success."

"The Ford Motor Company's Blue Oval will adorn the building," he added.

Moroun said he and his father long had a vision for the station even as they came under attack for leaving it undeveloped.

The station has been the city's most visible symbol of blight, and over the years has proved irresistible to photographers, who captured its dark, windowless vacancy as a stark example of Detroit's fall. Urban explorers and graffiti writers penetrated the building, and photos from the once-grand lobby or roof were souvenirs.

That changes with Ford's takeover. The company plans to make the station, once renovated, into the hub of its Detroit presence; along with the nearby book depository, also purchased from the Morouns by the company, Corktown will be where Ford plans to put its electric-vehicle and mobility workforce. 

The station, once thought doomed, has gradually been reconsidered as part of Detroit's comeback. Crain Communications used it as the setting to kick off its 2017 Detroit Homecoming event, staging a dinner in the lobby last September.

The deal with Ford is the most significant sign that the Moroun family is taking a new tack in its business dealings in Detroit. Where the elder Moroun, now 90, is legendary for his stubborness and hard-nosed business practices, his son Matthew has shown a different approach to getting what he wants. 

"I'm different from my dad. He was born poor with a chip on his shoulder. I was born rich. He'd bang on the table and take the position that he's 'entitled to it under the law, so you've got to give it to me.' I'm trying to build a bridge, so I need friends. My father's friends? They're all gone, practically," Matthew Moroun told Charlie LeDuff in a story published earlier this year in the Free Press.

The family is still seeking to build a new Ambassador Bridge across the Detroit River, even as preliminary work on the Gordie Howe International Bridge takes place farther downriver. 

Leave a Comment:

Photo Of The Day