Sen. Brown, colleagues: Historic Central Depot can rise again
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Sen. Brown, colleagues: Historic Central Depot can rise again

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LANSING, MI – May 26, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Sen. Cameron S. Brown, chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Emerging Technologies Committee, and five fellow Senate committee chairs are encouraging the rehabilitation – rather than the demolition – of Detroit’s historic Michigan Central Depot property.

“The Michigan Central Depot played a vital role in Detroit’s history, and with enough foresight, teamwork and effort it can play an equally vital role in its future,” said Brown, R-Fawn River Township.  “If spared from the wrecking ball, this landmark property could once again be the pride of Detroit.”

Built in 1913, the Michigan Central Depot served as Detroit’s main passenger rail station until the last Amtrak train pulled away on Jan. 6, 1988.  It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1975.

The Detroit City Council is currently considering whether to demolish the 500,000-square-foot building located on 14 acres of property in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.

In a letter addressed to the depot’s owners, the Detroit International Bridge Company, Brown and his five co-signers outlined a wide array of potential uses for the historic property, including:

•    Michigan State Police forensic laboratory
•    Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection office
•    Regional homeland security headquarters
•    Trade processing center and border inspections facility
•    Intermodal transportation hub

The letter emphasizes that each of these potential uses could be eligible for funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Brown’s five co-signers each chair Senate committees related to industries or agencies that could capitalize on the depot’s proximity to critical state, regional and international infrastructure:

  • Sen. Jason Allen, Commerce and Tourism Committee chair
  • Sen. Jud Gilbert, Transportation Committee chair
  • Sen. Alan Sanborn, Economic Development and Regulatory Reform Committee chair
  • Sen. Valde Garcia, Appropriations State Police and Military Affairs Subcommittee chair
  • Sen. Ron Jelinek, Appropriations Committee chair and Federal Stimulus Oversight Subcommittee chair

“With more than 500,000 square feet of space on nearly 14 acres in proximity to critical state, regional and international infrastructure facilities, the Central Depot property has great potential to house a complimentary set of homeland security, intermodal transportation and economic development-related functions,” the letter reads.  “The property is ideally located in an area of unique intermodal convergence that includes the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, connections to three interstate highways, the Detroit-Wayne County Port and several freight lines.”

All six committee chairs have committed to further exploring the property’s potential.

The letter was shared with a long list of city, state and federal officials, including Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and the Detroit City Council.

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