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Ford’s Michigan Central Station Celebration Highlights Detroit Restaurant Owners

The event showcased local businesses including Ima, the Farmer’s Hand, and PizzaPlex

Chef Mike Ransom of Ima, a Corktown noodle bar, was featured in an LED screen slideshow of local business leaders.
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

An estimated 5,000 people attended a celebration today in Corktown, marking Ford Motor Company’s purchase of Michigan Central Station. During the event, the car company focused on its overarching vision for the new Detroit-based campus including plans for the creation of a Transportation Mobility Cloud platform that would help streamline city transit systems. The influx of employees from Ford will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the surrounding neighborhoods and the company made sure to emphasize its efforts to work with local business owners throughout the event.

The backdrop to the event was a large LED screen that featured a virtual flipbook of business leaders within the immediate community. Among them was chef Mike Ransom of Ima on Michigan Avenue, whose portrait was accompanied by a quote: “Corktown’s beauty is a reflection of strong neighborhood pride and vibrant local businesses. These relationships need to remain symbiotic and in balance.”

Rohani Foulkes, co-owner of the Farmer’s Hand and Folk, also lent her voice and image to the event. “We’re not just a family of businesses here in Corktown,” Foulkes’ quote read, “We’re a family of neighbors, so I think for a lot of we’d love to see more bikes on the roads, a bit more of a walkable neighborhood.”

Rohani Foulkes of Folk and the Farmer’s Hand was featured on an LED display behind the stage at Michigan Central Station.

Speakers at the press conference ranged from local poet Jessica Care Moore to Alessandra Carreon, an environmental engineer with Ford who also co-owns southwest Detroit-based pizzeria PizzaPlex. Carreon was tasked with introducing Ford’s CEO Jim Hackett, and her portion of the event can be viewed in the WXYZ video below. She also used her time at the microphone to plug PizzaPlex and its community initiatives. “To see Ford listen to and work closely with community to continue the story of Michigan Central Station demonstrates a totally new kind of commitment,” Carreon said.

Ford is anticipating that the train station will require three to four years of renovations and may devote the ground floor of the enormous building to a public “market hall” with restaurants, cafes, and retail. In the meantime, folks who missed the event can check out Ford’s open houses this weekend offering a look inside the iconic building. Keep track of all the major updates on the development at Curbed Detroit.

Ford’s Detroit Plans Highlight Mobility and Connection [CDET]
Ford moves into Detroit and Corktown [CDET]
Ford’s Reveals Plan for ‘Market Hall’ With Restaurants Inside Michigan Central Station [ED]
All Photo Interlude Coverage [ED]


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