Posts Tagged ‘Manuel Moroun’

Michigan Central Depot to Host Detroit Event

September 14, 2017

Michigan Central Station in Detroit will host the annual Detroit Homecoming this year, the first significant event to be held in the vacant depot since the middle 1980s.

The 104-year-old station in the Corktown neighborhood has been the subject of various renovation plans, the most recently being backed by the Moroun family of companies.

They have spent more than $8 million in the past two years making repairs that have included constructing a freight elevator in the shaft of the depot’s original smoke stack and installing 1,100 windows.

Matthew Moroun described the station development as a marathon, but insisted the race is well underway. His father, Matty, purchased the depot in 1995.

For years, the Morouns made few moves to restore the Detroit landmark, which once hosted passengers trains of the New York Central and tenants Canadian Pacific and Baltimore & Ohio, the latter using the terminal between 1946 and 1963.

After taking office in 2014, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan sought to improve what he termed the “somewhat checkered” relationship the Morouns have had with past city administrations.

Matthew Moroun and the mayor have discussed a list of issues involving the depot.

Although that list has not been made public, one known item is a request to replace the building’s numerous broken windows.

The mayor had made it known that he was tired of a former train station with broken windows defining the image of Detroit in national news stories about the city.

“I said, ‘I want you to put windows in the train station. And if you do that, everything else will be just fine.’” Duggan said.

The Morouns installed the windows in 2015 at a cost of $4 million.

Since the the windows went in, Matthew Moroun said he’s had more interest from developers with “hundreds of great ideas” for a building that has sat vacant since 1988 when Amtrak ceased passenger service there.

Moroun estimates it would renovating the station will cost more than $100 million.

“We’re looking for the right idea that’s not only popular and motivating, but also economically viable,” Moroun said. “We’re getting closer all of the time.”

Among the ideas that Duggan has for the station is housing a corporate headquarters or building high-end lofts on the 18th floor, which has a 360-degree view of greater downtown Detroit and the waterfront.

“I’m not the one who has to make the numbers work,” Duggan said. “When the day comes, I’m going to do everything I can to help make the numbers work.”

Windows Being Replaced in Detroit Station

August 18, 2015

Michigan Central Station in Detroit has long been a symbol of urban decay and unfulfilled promise.

The vacant former railroad station sits southwest of downtown Detroit awaiting a better future or even a future at all.

Over the years more than 1,000 windows have been broken, but now about 600 of them – all on the upper floors – have been replaced.

Ken Carter, a superintendent of the project for the Detroit International Bridge Co., expects all of the nearly 1,100 broken windows to be replaced by the end of the year.

The project is part of a deal between Manuel “Matty” Moroun, who owns the station and the city of Detroit.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan wants to improve Riverside Park by swapping land there for a parcel that Moroun needs to build a replacement span next to the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Carter said the restoration efforts at the station have thus far cost about $12 million. That includes restoring electricity and installing a $4 million elevator capable of carrying freight and passengers. The new windows will cost about $3 million.

“This building touches many people,” Carter said. “We think it’s very important to bring it back.”

The station has been empty since the last Amtrak trains called there on Jan. 6, 1988.

Vandals and thieves have since turned the station into a notorious eyesore with every window broken.

The Moroun family gained control of the station in the mid-1990s but has only recently begun to restore it. No plans have been announced for a use of the station, which was built in 1913.

The depot is of the Beaux-Arts Classical style of architecture and was designed by the Warren & Wetmore and Reed & Stem firms, which also designed New York’s Grand Central Terminal.