Michigan Central Station, a well-known symbol of Detroit’s decay, is
expected to get $80 million in renovations over the next three years,
according to a top aide to depot owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun.
The revelation was made by Moroun associate Dan Stamper as he went
before the Detroit City Council last week to discuss alternative plans
to the city selling land needed for a new bridge to Canada.
The bridge — known as the New International Trade Crossing — could put
thousands of people to work in southeast Michigan and revitalize the
trade corridor with Canada. It would connect highways in Detroit and
Windsor, relieving traffic congestion for commercial trucks and other
Moroun, who controls the Ambassador Bridge, unsuccessfully sued a
number of federal officials and the Canadian government in a bid to
block the building of the rival bridge.
In 2012, he spent more than $33 million to support Proposal 6, which
would have required a statewide vote before a public crossing could be
built across the Detroit River. Voters rejected the proposal.
The state offered $1.4 million for 301 city-owned parcels needed for
the bridge project to proceed. The council rejected the deal, in part,
over concerns the sale price was too low. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr
is expected to approve the sale anyway. But the council can propose an
alternative plan this week to a state emergency loan board.
As an alternative to the state’s offer, Stamper offered $1.5 million
for the land in the Delray community in southwest Detroit, plus $1
million to help fix up the community.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins said she
was happy to see Moroun’s associate promise to help that community.
“There is one building that you all have not demolished,” Jenkins said
of the depot. “Whenever they show the demise of Detroit there are two
buildings they always show — one is the Packard Plant, the other is
the train station.”
“We are going to renovate the train depot,” Stamper replied. “It’s
probably another three years to secure the building watertight.”
He said the offer is not an attempt to block the bridge project. He
said a second Ambassador Bridge would be built without disturbing the
The council, however, showed no interest in pursuing Moroun’s offer
for the Delray land.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Jenkins didn’t seem impressed with Stamper’s
description of plans to renovate the train station.
“That’s a pledge that I’ve heard multiple times,” Jenkins said.
Originally posted in the: Detroit Free Press