Detroit train station to get windows in land transfer deal
Apr. 29, 2015
DETROIT (AP) — The owners of a long-shuttered train depot that for nearly two decades has been one of Detroit's best-known eyesores will be required to install 1,050 windows this year as part of a land transfer deal with the city, Mayor Mike Duggan announced Wednesday.
In exchange for the enhancements to the Michigan Central Depot, the Ambassador Bridge Co. would get a strip of city-owned land that can be used as part of a planned and privately funded new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
Duggan has aggressively attacked Detroit's blight since taking office last year. He has used federal funds to demolish thousands of abandoned houses. He also pushed a program to sell vacant lots to city homeowners.
The new windows are expected to upgrade the exterior of the train station. The 18-story building was built in 1913 but fell into disrepair after rail service ended in 1988.
The deal "provides a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the Michigan Central Depot, making the future redevelopment of that landmark more likely," Duggan said.
Manuel (Matty) Moroun bought the building in the 1990s. Moroun also owns the Ambassador Bridge Co. and a number of land parcels along the city's west riverfront.
His bridge company will transfer nearly 5 acres to the city to expand nearby Riverside Park and pay Detroit $3 million for park improvements.
The deal has to be approved by the Detroit City Council.
The 3-acre strip of undeveloped land the city would hand over to Moroun is adjacent to the Ambassador Bridge and in the area where the bridge company is planning to build the Detroit portion of a twin span over the Detroit River. That project has been held up in litigation over permits.
Once the bridge company receives title to the strip of land, it will give Detroit another $2 million for further work on Riverside Park.
"This agreement allows for Riverside Park to become the marquee park in Detroit while protecting the possibility for a second span of the Ambassador Bridge," said Matt Moroun, Matty Moroun's son.
The state of Michigan also is planning to build its own New International Trade Crossing bridge over the river. Canada is paying most of the $2 billion project's cost and plans to recoup the money through tolls. Officials have said they hope to open the bridge in 2020.
The Morouns oppose that project which would compete for traffic along the Ambassador Bridge.