The Detroit News is reporting that work has begun to replace the windows at the abandoned Michigan Central Depot in Corktown. This morning crews began work on the first story, removing caulking and what little glazing was left in place. Mattie Moroun, owner of the iconic station and the Ambassador Bridge, had pledged to fix up the building earlier this year. Along with replacing windows, the owner also proposed to fix the leaking roof. Replacing the windows alone is likely to be a long and expensive project with an estimated 1,400 windows in the building.
While I love this building and am thrilled to see some money being pumped back into it, this move as a friend told me, equates to nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig. Moroun, who has long received criticism for letting the station fall into such a decrepit state, is now in a very public battle over the proposed new Detroit-Canada bridge crossing. With the interior of the station also being in disarray, it's obvious these updates won't bring the building all that much closer to being inhabitable. Fixing up of the facade is simply a move by Moroun and company to look better in the public eye for once. I'll be curious to see what happens to this effort once the plans for the new bridge are finalized. I'd be willing to bet nothing much will happen after these first few windows are replaced, but perhaps I am just being overly cynical.
Maybe I'll be proved wrong. Maybe the owners of the grand old station are finally getting serious about this. I would love nothing more than to be proved wrong. But if history is any indicator of things to come, I'd be willing to bet this restoration "effort" won't amount to much.