The most-anticipated development in Detroit this year is the reopening of Michigan Central Station. Vacant for 40 years and nearly demolished at one point, the handsome 18-story building was bought by Ford in 2018. Next to the old train station is a humble three-story building, also purchased by Ford. Built in 1936 and vacant since a fire in 1987, the Albert Kahn-designed Roosevelt Warehouse, commonly known now as the Book Depository, is open again and home to NewLab's Detroit Headquarters.
Michigan Central worked with Newlab; architecture firm Gensler; Civilian, interior designers and architectural consultants; and Ghafari, interior architect of record, to design the Book Depository. The exterior spaces and landscaping were designed by MYK. Inside, you'll see martini columns lining the corridors, with ferns accenting the second floor work tables and seating. The building also has a 2,000-sqaure-foot event space and a 200-seat space that overlooks an 11,000-square-foot robotics and prototyping facility.
The second and third floors have open and private studios and workspaces. The basement also has these spaces, along with a tunnel leading to Michigan Central.
“Detroit is a city with an extraordinary design culture-both past and present-and the city has provided a deep well of inspiration for this project,” says Civilian’s Nicko Elliott. “Our goal has always been to create a resonant and layered environment that takes cues from this remarkable structure while supporting and celebrating the visionary work that will take place here in the years to come.”
According to a release, "Newlab will build and activate the high-tech startup ecosystem at Michigan Central. In Detroit, Newlab is scaling its model of applied innovation which is designed to accelerate the development, scale, and adoption of critical technologies across mobility, energy, and materials." The company has brought in 150 members across 25 companies to the new space, with half of those companies from outside of Metro Detroit.
Newlab will support these companies with resources like the prototype labs and connections to a venture capital firm, New System Ventures, with "boots on the ground in Detroit."
The 270,000-square-foot Book Depository is part of Ford's overall plan of an innovation and mobility ecosystem taking shape over 30 acres in Corktown. Roosevelt Park is currently under construction and should open later this year, along with Michigan Central Station.
Additional photos can be found in the gallery at the top of the page.