The iconic Michigan Central Station was a pass through point for millions of immigrants, travelers, and migrants from around the nation seeking a living wage in the motor city. Formally dedicated on January 4, 1914, the 13-story and 2 mezzanine level office tower with a roof height of 230 feet once boasted the title of tallest rail station in the world.

Photo: Historic Detroit

However, for many millennial Detroiters age 30 and under, the Michigan Central Train Station, which shut it’s doors on January 6, 1988, has been an unfortunate symbol of  blight for the entirety of their lives.

Fast forward to 2018 and this generation is witnessing history as MCS undergoes an unprecedented makeover as Ford Motor Company plans to transform the space into the centerpiece of its vibrant new campus in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. 

Photo: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

On Friday, August 17th, Ford opened the doors of Michigan Central Station to invite a group of diverse millennial leaders from the region to weigh in on what that transformation should look like. During this #MCSChallenge workshop, young entrepreneurs gained inspiration from the historic space as they pitched their “moonshot” for the buildings revitalization.

Photo: Urban Content Studios

We asked a few of the millennial tech leaders in the room how they might redesign the old train station if given access to unlimited money and resources, here’s what they had to say:

1. Jacob Smith, Hometown- Ann Arbor/Detroit

Photo: Urban Content Team

“I’m just excited about everything that is yet to come. One thing I would like to see at MCS is for this to be a hub for technology mobility.”

2. Meagan Ward, Hometown- Detroit

Photo: Urban Content Studios

“I envision a social movement.

Business owners collaborating with the community while helping people with their start-up companies. This should be a cultural playground.”

3. Sergio Juarez, Hometown- Detroit

Photo: Urban Content Studios

“I see this as a collective space where people can engage and meet up.”

4. Eric Thomas, Hometown- Detroit

Photo: Detroit Metro Times

“First, the train station should be restored to its original glory. I don’t want to see any decay or grunge. I just want to see a fun space with new energy and new life.”

5. Ray Batra, Hometown- Detroit

Photo: Urban Content Studios

“Since Ford owns the structure, I think this should be a training ground for Ford employees. Also, co-learning programs should be implemented. A place where people can learn in a playful and safe environment.”

6. Nikki Evelyn, Hometown- Chicago

Photo: Urban Content Studios

“A community space where people can get unlimited resources. Also, a place where kids can be exposed to technology and get hands-on experience at a young age.”

7. Westin Pulizzi, Hometown- St. Claire Shores

Photo: Urban Content Studios

“There should be a balance between, community and educational outreach.

I would like to see the original artwork restored and new artwork from people within the city.

Pop-up shops and restaurants would be nice too.”

8. Chanel Taylor, Hometown- Southfield

Photo: Urban Content Studios

“I see this as a large space for food/restaurants, clothing stores and a safe place the youth in the area can come visit.

There is so much space in here, anything is possible.”

Ford Land chairman and CEO, Dave Dubensky is committed to incorporating community voice into the MCS project. “I love having the opportunity to hear everyone’s ideas,” Dubensky said. 

Photo: Kirk Pinho/Crain’s Detroit Business

“I hope when MCS opens in 2022, some of you all can come back and say, ‘that was my concept or I helped with that.’

Read Next: Young Tech Entrepreneurs Join Ford to Design Inclusive Detroit Tech Ecosystem



The Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC) is a client-directed community center where people can learn new skills, obtain needed services, develop new talents and celebrate community. Made possible by grants from Ford Motor Company Fund, The Ford Resource and Engagement Center brings together non-profit partners to serve the surrounding community. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *