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Ford Continues with $740 Million Renovation of 105-Year-Old Building


By Ryan Berlin Design & Construction
A view of the old Michigan Central Station building in Detroit
© Mathias Berlin | Shutterstock

Facility renovations are costly, time consuming and require a tremendous amount of planning in order to execute successful. In Detroit, Ford Motor Co. said it is on track on the renovation of the Michigan Central Depot, entering the second of three phases to restore the historic building for part of its $740 million Corktown campus.

The focus of the second phase is restoring eight acres of masonry, an intensive task that will continue until 2021. Crews will also assess and repair the steel structure.

“When we initially looked at the building, everything was encased in concrete, so a lot of that probing and testing is going on to really understand where the building is falling structurally better or worse,” said Rich Bardelli of the automaker's real estate arm, Ford Land Co. “For the most part, it’s where we thought it was going to be. In some areas, a little bit worse. In some areas, a lot better.”

As it begins its second phase, Ford is also working on the master plan for the building, set to be released in a month, according to the Detroit News.

Since the start of the first phase in December, Ford has taken numerous steps to minimize water from entering and remaining in the 640,000-square-foot structure. White tarps cover the grand lobby’s large windows and temporary roofing is in place. Black tubing runs along the walls and from floor to floor directing water out and away from the building.

Ford faces challenges as the 105-year-old building has been open to the elements for decades and suffered excessive water damage.

Damaged terracotta, limestone and brick will be cleaned, repointed and replaced. It’s a process that will take two to three years.

Some of the material will have to be replicated. For example, terra cotta that can't be salvaged will be replaced with fiberglass.

Ryan Berlin is digital content manager of Facilitiesnet.com.

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