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Before, after photos show transformation of Michigan Central Station in Detroit

before and after photos of the Michigan Central Station
Michigan Central Station, in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, opened in December 1913. (Photo by Stephen McGee/Michigan Central)
  • Michigan Central Station will reopen Thursday, more than 36 years after the last trains rolled out 
  • Ford Motor Co. bought the abandoned station in 2018 and transformed it into the centerpiece of a $950 million tech and innovation campus 
  • The train station was originally built in 1913 and at its peak had 4,000 daily visitors 

Michigan Central Station, once one of Detroit’s biggest eyesores, will open this week for the first time since 1988 — following Ford Motor Co.'s six-year, nearly billion-dollar project to transform the former train depot into a center for advanced technology. 

The station, in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, was once bustling with over 4,000 daily visitors. It originally opened in 1913. 


But after the heightened interest in automobiles, and a decline in rail passengers, the station ultimately closed. In 2018, three decades after the train station closed, Ford Motor Co. bought it from the Moroun family


Thursday’s grand opening will include a star-studded free concert in Roosevelt Park in front of the station. Free public tours of the Michigan Central Station will begin Friday and continue through Sunday, June 16.  

The $950 million project, which includes renovations to the Michigan Central Station as well as renovation of the nearby former Book Depository building into the home of a tech center called Newlab at Michigan Central will serve as Ford’s main mobility campus and will include restaurants, retail stores and modern workspaces. 

Here’s a look at the site before and after its transformation: 

a large limestone building. it has several windows and tall

Michigan Central Station, in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood,  opened in December 1913. (Photo by Stephen McGee/Michigan Central)

Drag the slider to reveal before-and-after views of the building’s transformation. Architects Whitney Warren and Charles D. Wetmore, along with Charles A. Reed and Allen Stem, who designed New York City’s Grand Central Station, designed Michigan Central Station. (Photos courtesy of Michigan Central)

three-story Beaux-Arts building. on the left the building looks dirty. on the right, the building is brighter and restored

The three-story Beaux-Arts building was originally designed with 10 gates for trains, and an 18-story tower with more than 500 offices, according to the Detroit Historical Society. (Photos by Charlotte Smith/Michigan Central and Stephen McGee/Michigan Central)

a dirty building on the left.the picture focuses of the columns of the building. there are two more columns and much cleaner on the right

Another before-and-after view. To complete some parts of the building, Ford turned to a previously shuttered Indiana quarry to supply more than 600 tons of limestone that matched the original construction. (Photos by James Haefner/Michigan Central and Stephen McGee/Michigan Central)

on the left, shows it's falling apart with exposed brick. On the left, there is a beautiful limestone pattern

The building’s Grand Hall before and after renovation. In 2018, Ford Motor Co. bought the property and has since restored it as part of a nearly $1 billion project. (Photos by Stephen McGee/Michigan Central)

Graffiti of a ticket booth on the left. One right, there's no more graffiti and it looks new

Graffiti once covered the station’s old ticket booth. At its peak, nearly 4,000 passengers visited Michigan Central Station daily. (Photos by Stephen McGee/Michigan Central)

Drag the slider for a detailed look at the transformation of the building’s columns. (Photos courtesy of Michigan Central)

the left of the grand hall and the right of the grand hall. the left photo, the space looks dirty

The Grand Hall, before and after. The Michigan Central Station will open Thursday and will include a free concert. Free public tours will begin Friday and run through Sunday, June 16. (Photos by Stephen McGee/Michigan Central) 

the ceiling has crumbled on the left. one the right, there are new lights

A before-and-after look at the ceiling above Michigan Central’s restaurant. Other businesses and restaurants will fill the space in the coming months during a “phased reactivation,” the Detroit Free Press reported. (Photos by Stephen McGee/Michigan Central)

construction workers working inside the station

More than 3,000 skilled tradespeople worked on the project.

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