Michigan Central Station

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gokeefe
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by gokeefe » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:28 pm

I too noticed that Ford mentioned a multi modal transportation center as an example of what he had in mind. I thought it was significant but it seemed to be a step too far to say this might be an indication that Ford hoped for the return of passenger rail service.

I think the column attaches a reasonable opinion of potential intent and takes the next step. We should probably all be thankful that MDOT has yet to build a new station in Detroit.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:19 am

gokeefe wrote:.Also saw a reference to "Detroit Union Station" in other material which I believe is MCS.
Mr. O’Keefe, possibly the "Union" reference is to Fort Street Union Depot that has been noted much earlier in this discussion. Such was near present day Cobo Hall and was a "we're done" on.A-Day.

Lest our youngsters around here be unaware, The Funk also had there own station. Also earlier noted, Brush Street was located immediately to the North of Renaissance Center and survived until the GTW commuter service folded with the defunding of its sponsoring agency.

Finally, I continue to throw caution to the Ford statements that the existing MCS tracks will remain. But best be sure you can "cover bets" after the construction is complete. The tracks are likely the best way to move construction material to the site, but I'm not about to lay my $$ down for anything beyond that.

Steve B
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by Steve B » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:07 am

Fort St. was a beautiful station, replaced by the utterly banal Wayne County Community College. GTW's 1860s Brush St. Station was located almost exactly where the tall RenCen hotel is. It was closed and demolished in summer 1973. For the last ten years of commuter service to 1983, a tiny prefab structure a couple blocks upriver sufficed.

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:07 pm

Thanks for the update, Mr. SteveB, regarding the closing of Brush St. I know it was there as of A-Day Eve, as a fellow I knew (deceased) took his "last ride" on The Mohawk.

Was that ever a train; running its "Music Clef" route touching Battle Creek on the North and South Bend on the South, and I understand matching the Central with schedule.

On Detroit as a city, I'm set to watch History Channel's "Comeback City" tonight On-Demand.

My attachment to Detroit is the Detroit Symphony Orchestra - World Class in every respect! I'very seen Detroit at its darkest (the Bankruptcy), but it's steady recovery from such. Apparently they are "out" for Amazon2, but with the auto industry's revival, affordable living for Millennials, and not saying I'm about to walk from Ren Cen to Fisher Hall after dark (hey, you got Q Line for that), I've walked same after a matinee DO concert without incident.

Unfortunately, I choose to drive out there. The Wolverines simply have to up their timekeeping (once almost missed the start of a concert in Ann Arbor thanks to the absence of such) as well as their paucity of Business Class seating to have me on board. Besides, I like to stop at Schuler's in Marshall for, as my Vegan Niece says, "a hunk of cow".

But even the years I don't make it out, I still support the DSO with a contribution.

gokeefe
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by gokeefe » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:52 pm

A guest columnist writes in support of Amtrak returning to MCS ...
When Bill Ford laid out his vision for the Michigan Central Station, he held up the ferry terminal in San Francisco as a model:

"The one that really caught my eye was the ferry terminal in San Francisco," Ford said. "It's a working ferry terminal, but it's a meeting spot for everybody in that area. So people meet for coffee, they meet for lunch. They have some really fun and interesting retail experiences. It's just buzzing with activity and buzzing with life. And I love that."

Could this signal an openness on Ford's part to return intercity passenger train service to Michigan Central? Could Michigan Central become a functioning transportation hub once again?

Perhaps these conversations are already taking place between Ford, Amtrak, the Michigan Department of Transportation and other stakeholders. If they aren't, maybe they ought to be.
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WesternNation
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by WesternNation » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:07 pm

I like the idea in the article about turning the stations north of Detroit into commuter stations, but autonomous locomotive technology? That’s laughable. I guarantee neither NS or CN would be too pleased and the FRA definitely wouldn’t allow it. This isn’t the People Mover or the tram at DTW.

bretton88
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by bretton88 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:42 am

WesternNation wrote:I like the idea in the article about turning the stations north of Detroit into commuter stations, but autonomous locomotive technology? That’s laughable. I guarantee neither NS or CN would be too pleased and the FRA definitely wouldn’t allow it. This isn’t the People Mover or the tram at DTW.
Probably not in the immediate future, but we already have unmanned locomotives run by remote control. With PTC, GPS tracking, etc, it is possible that in the future we could definitely see autonomous locomotives, its certainly not an unreasonable idea with where technology currently is. If anything, it might be easier than autonomous cars.

george matthews
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by george matthews » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:55 am

bretton88 wrote:
WesternNation wrote:I like the idea in the article about turning the stations north of Detroit into commuter stations, but autonomous locomotive technology? That’s laughable. I guarantee neither NS or CN would be too pleased and the FRA definitely wouldn’t allow it. This isn’t the People Mover or the tram at DTW.
Probably not in the immediate future, but we already have unmanned locomotives run by remote control. With PTC, GPS tracking, etc, it is possible that in the future we could definitely see autonomous locomotives, its certainly not an unreasonable idea with where technology currently is. If anything, it might be easier than autonomous cars.
In London there is the Docklands Light Railway whose trains are normally controlled by a central computer. They can have a driver who only acts when necessary. He spends most of his time checking tickets and keeping an eye on the passengers. But I doubt if that system could be expanded to a full featured railway.

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Tadman
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by Tadman » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:58 pm

Ford has more of an interest in keeping passenger trains alive than meets the eye. Consider the auto industry - profits are high, stock is low, and where does innovation come from? You can't put more horsepower into a car. Lightweight materials are already there. The nominal cost of a car is pretty darn high as a result. Where does one go from there? Probably autonomous and/or shared cars. Once one doesn't actually own a car and uses on-demand, why does one drive to Chicago from Detroit if there are frequent trains? The act of driving takes up time and adds little value. One can sleep, read, work, email, etc... and add value during that time. It's in Ford's best interest to lead that effort, not get caught behind it.

Consider the steam-to-diesel switch: some steam builders didn't take diesel seriously. They perished. Some tried to build diesels like steamers. They perished. If Ford pays attention to history, they know they need to be in front of the shift to multi-modal and autonomous transport.
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gokeefe
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by gokeefe » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:50 pm

The other really big shift is the reurbanization of major cities. Higher population densities mean new challenges for cars and especially trucks. I agree with Tadman that Ford is trying to lead as opposed to falling behind the curve. They have an interest in ensuring that cars have a future in cities ...
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Tadman
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by Tadman » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:33 pm

Absolutely agreed. I think a wise man sees mass transit, corridor trains, and autonomous car-share having a future together regardless of politics. And I love me a pickemup truck with a V8!
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gokeefe
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by gokeefe » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:14 pm

WOW!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) disclosed Tuesday it will spend $740 million on a project to revamp Michigan Central Station, Detroit’s historic but dilapidated former rail station, as well as other neighborhood sites.

...

The company said Tuesday in a statement it is “working with federal, state and local economic development groups and officials, seeking at least $250 million in tax or other incentives to support the development of the five Corktown sites Ford has purchased.”

Ford said total investment in the development of the train station and developing 45 acres of vacant land will cost approximately $740 million over the next four years.
That's $148,000 per employee ... Incredible. I hope they get every dime of tax incentives they possibly can.
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:15 pm

gokeefe wrote:WOW!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) disclosed Tuesday it will spend $740 million on a project to revamp Michigan Central Station, Detroit’s historic but dilapidated former rail station, as well as other neighborhood sites.

...

The company said Tuesday in a statement it is “working with federal, state and local economic development groups and officials, seeking at least $250 million in tax or other incentives to support the development of the five Corktown sites Ford has purchased.”

Ford said total investment in the development of the train station and developing 45 acres of vacant land will cost approximately $740 million over the next four years.
That's $148,000 per employee ... Incredible. I hope they get every dime of tax incentives they possibly can.
Alternately, it's a $29 surcharge on each car they'll produce over the next four years (about 6.5 million a year worldwide.) Still a huge chunk of change, though far less when factored into a $20,000 purchase price.

The state, county, city, and Federal governments would be stupid to not give them some money too, since Ford is a shining example of American industry trying to reinvest locally. Tangentially relating this to the forum, maybe Ford can get a New Starts or Small Starts grant to build out a waiting room and platform while they're working on the building renovation generally.

gokeefe
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by gokeefe » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:51 pm

The pricing appears to include a federal historic preservation tax credit which is 20% of expenses on a certified rehabilitation. If Michigan has a state historic preservation tax credit they will get that as well. In Maine the state tax credit is 25%.

This is a major part of the reason why Ford is pursuing historic items. The certified rehabilitation standards basically require restoration of any trims and finishes deemed to be significant. In a building like Michigan Central Station it's basically floor to ceiling in all of the public spaces.

If it is true that they are in fact pursuing a historic preservation tax credit (which it appears at first glance they are) this is going to be one of the most astounding rebirths of an American train station ever undertaken. Basically the entire station will be rebuilt to near perfect condition.

Furthermore Ford wants it done basically "tomorrow" ...
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Re: Michigan Central Station

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:16 pm

gokeefe wrote:The pricing appears to include a federal historic preservation tax credit which is 20% of expenses on a certified rehabilitation. If Michigan has a state historic preservation tax credit they will get that as well. In Maine the state tax credit is 25%.

This is a major part of the reason why Ford is pursuing historic items. The certified rehabilitation standards basically require restoration of any trims and finishes deemed to be significant. In a building like Michigan Central Station it's basically floor to ceiling in all of the public spaces.

If it is true that they are in fact pursuing a historic preservation tax credit (which it appears at first glance they are) this is going to be one of the most astounding rebirths of an American train station ever undertaken. Basically the entire station will be rebuilt to near perfect condition.

Furthermore Ford wants it done basically "tomorrow" ...
Emphases mine

That first phrase is exceptionally important. Ford has picked a building that has prolific architectural plans for the grand hall, but is largely a blank slate for the upper floors. They can do pretty much whatever they want upstairs, and even in the main hall they have a considerable amount of leeway for everything from ADA to fire code to availability of materials to simple design choices. I've been involved in at least one historic preservation project which received "rehabilitation" tax credits, in which the entire building was gutted and the upper floor entirely removed (the shell was kept intact) despite being in excellent shape. If that flexibility still isn't enough, Ford has literal millions to pour into lobbying the State Historic Preservation Office, and into the State Legislature to give them as much free reign over the renovation as they desire while still receiving tax credits.

And the second phrase could go even further - I believe this will be one of the most astounding rebirths of any American public building ever.

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