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Fate Of Old Train Station Discussed

The debate of the fate of the Michigan Central Depot train station rages on as top Michigan lawmakers hold a series of meetings to discuss potential rehabilitation of the historic landmark.
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The debate of the fate of the Michigan Central Depot train station rages on as top Michigan lawmakers hold a series of meetings to discuss potential rehabilitation of the historic landmark.

Several state senators held the first meeting Monday morning to discuss the building's property potential for state and national homeland security efforts as well as intermodal transportation and economic development projects.

The senators sent a letter in May to the owners of the train station laying out their plans for the 500,000-square-foot structure.

Senators Discuss Fate Of Old Train Depot

The senators suggested the building be used as a headquarters for the Michigan State Police Forensic lab, a regional homeland security border patrol headquarters or a trade processing and inspections center.

Each of the possible uses may be eligible for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. However, lawmakers stressed that most of the rehabilitation efforts would fall back on the owners.

The owners of the property, the Detroit International Bridge Company, also own the Ambassador Bridge.

"The owner would be footing the bill and it's clearly over $100 million," said Senate Homeland Security and Emerging Technologies Committee Chair Sen. Cameron S. Brown, R-Fawn River Township.

The DIBC has said in the past they are open to rehabilitation suggestions.

"We have a couple of proponents that want to come and make presentations to us about saving it, but we don't know if it's anything more than pie in the sky, but if they are we want to pursue it," said DIBC representative Dan Stamper.

Stamper said he will comment at the end of the committee meetings on whether or not the DIBC is willing to spend the $100 million needed for rehabilitation.

The Detroit City Council delayed a vote earlier this year to delay demolition on the old train station.

Built in 1913, the Michigan Central Depot served as Detroit's main passenger rail station until the last Amtrak train pulled away on Jan. 6, 1988. It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1975.