December 22, 2016
Ford Motors has been making sweeping changes across its operating facilities in order to provide customers with a better variety of vehicles. The experts behind the manufacturing division of the automotive giant know that it may take more than a powerful reputation to better attract future employees to the group. In order to optimize future manufacturing processes and practices, the automaker is planning on injecting $60 million into facilities in their hometown of Dearborn. This massive financial package is promising to not only revitalize plans with the company, but also with the local area, which can encourage future tourism and industrial planning.
The automaker is planning on redeveloping the local unused buildings and lots around three blocks of the West Downtown District, re-purposing the area into new readily available office and retail space for employees. This redevelopment site rests approximately two miles from the Ford World Headquarters, set to the west on Michigan Avenue. The developments promise to be massive, and many locals are excited to become a part of the occasion. As with any other such major operation, however, manufacturers are planning ahead in order to provide the local area with the historic recognition and respect it deserves.
One such section planned for development is known as Wagner Place, which was a previous development used for a variety of reasons. The facade of the 120-year-old Wagner hotel is a historic location that has been vacant for 10 years, but Ford hopes to re-purpose the structure in order to optimize renovations for company-related use. This building, especially, is scheduled for mid-2018 completion, and many similar buildings are to be renovated as well. The development site will also take over the former structure for Kiernan’s Steakhouse, a previously owned restaurant that is scheduled to be torn down to make room for future developments.
Though the initial price tag on the renovations already promises to be relatively hefty at $60 million, there are further plans to improve the local area. These include plans for a city-built parking garage, in addition to improved infrastructure around the local area. These together may cost $20 million, but state officials have also approved of approximately $31.4 million, gathered from school and local tax captures that may help with the component payments. The tax increment capture is scheduled to begin in 2019, and experts believe that it may continue for another 30 years in order to better fund various other programs in the area.
This project is just the beginning of Ford's larger-scale 10-year plan that hopes to redevelop outdated properties and practices in order to establish a stronger working environment for employees. This larger plan also calls for the relocation of over 30 thousand employees to work in two newly renovated Ford campuses located in Dearborn. These arrangements hope to also add over 50 non-Ford jobs for the retail sphere, and the new workplace plans to create 200 jobs with the automaker. Such developments are particularly promising in a city that is constantly developing and providing individuals with employment opportunities.
The new plan will also focus on demolishing many surrounding facilities in order to create a stronger degree of sustainability. Existing facilities are scheduled for updates as well. Ford's early renderings show details for softball fields, basketball courts, walkways with lakes, trees and flowers, and the opportunity for employees to move across the campus on autonomous shuttles, cars and e-bikes. These resulting changes promise to not only improve the landscape and provide individuals with jobs but also help set the standard for many other auto making facilities to follow in the future.